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Co-op’s ‘divi’ back after 30 years

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The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest co-operative society accounting for 60% of co-operative trade and valued at £8bn, has launched a £100m revamp of its brand and has introduced a new profit-share dividend scheme for its members.

Customers, who pay £1 for membership, will collect points from buying various goods and services that can be redeemed at a later date, a system that last operated in 1976. The Co-operative Group hopes to increase its membership from the current 600,000 to four million by 2010.

“There are millions of consumers across the UK who share our belief in self-help, social responsibility and democracy and, like us, are prepared to take a stand on consumer and social issues,” said Martin Beaumont, chief executive.

“That may be true but this is a gamble they will be praying is successful,” commented retail analyst Debbie Harrison.

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