The co-operative economy report revealed that the UK’s 7,215 independent co-ops had a turnover at a record high of £37.7bn in 2019, up more than £400m on 2018 levels. Produced by trade body Co-operatives UK, the report shows the turnover, membership and employee figures for thousands of co-op businesses across the UK.

There are 7,215 independent co-ops operating across the UK, a drop of 51 from 2018 levels. While there are fewer co-ops, they are doing more business, with turnover at a record high of £37.7 billion, up more than £400m on 2018 levels.

Co-operatives UK attributes the decline in the number of co-ops to a decline in new starts, with 150 co-op start-ups in 2019, down from the previous year’s 191.

The report confirms the co-operative model remains resilient, with almost three out of four co-op start-ups (72%) still flourishing after the difficult first five years of existence, compared to only 43% in the case of new companies (57%).

The UK’s co-ops have 13.7 million members and 233,733 employees. The majority of the UK’s co-ops are based in England, which also accounts for 87% of the total turnover, as well as 79% of newly created co-ops in 2019. However, both Scotland and Wales created more co-ops than England when correlated against business population.

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