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The Co-op Economy

The Co-op Economy 2021

The Co-op Economy is the nation’s only comprehensive report on the UK’s co‑operative sector. It reveals turnover, membership and employee figures for co‑op businesses across the UK.

The Co-op Economy 2021 shows that co-op businesses are more resilient to the economic devastation caused by Covid. It reveals:

  • Co-ops four times less likely to cease trading – just 1.5% of co-ops were dissolved in 2020 compared to 6.5% of businesses generally
  • Number of independent co-ops grew by 1.2% in 2020 despite the global pandemic
  • Turnover for the UK’s 7,237 co-ops grows to £39.7bn (an increase of £1.1bn)
  • Co-ops are more ambitious than small businesses generally, with 61% of co-ops expressing ambitions to grow or develop in the first quarter of 2021
The Co-op Economy Report 2021
Our latest report reveals that co-ops are proving resilient to the pandemic
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We're calling for more business support to grow this increasingly valuable sector. To have even more impact in terms of levelling up the economy, co-ops need the support that other business models receive as a matter of course. Co-ops have been marginalised and underrated for far too long
– Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK

Government should invest in more co-op business support

The CEOs of nine of the largest retail societies in the UK have jointly written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for more tailored business support for co-operatives catering to their distinct approach to capital raising, business strategy and organisational development. 


Read our policy paper and letter to Rishi Sunak
Help spread the word about co-op resilience
Download our sample social media posts and graphics

How do we compile the report?

The Co-op Economy report is compiled by Co-operatives UK on behalf of the UK co-operative movement. The report analyses data from thousands of co-op businesses across the UK for the period 2006 to 2021, including a representative sample of the UK’s co-ops through the 2021 Co-op Economy survey (3.6% of the UK’s co-ops).

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