This successful commercial retail enterprise began trading in Jersey in 1919 and in Guernsey in 1947; a merger of both societies in 1955 formed the Channel Islands Co-operative Society Limited. The Society is one of the largest businesses in the Islands, currently employing over 1000 staff members and with a record number of over 110,000 shareholders.
But even as they have grown and changed to serve the modern consumer, the Society retains the same unique basis of shareholder and payment of the ‘divi’ each year that began in 1919 with returning soldiers putting down their shilling to fund the Society.
The Co-operative Society is unique in modern business in having shareholders. Co-operative principles allow customers to become shareholders and take their share of the surplus (profit) in dividend related to their purchases in the financial year. This gives a total customer ethos to the Society, and leads to a special relationship between the directors, management, staff and shareholder/customer.