Saskatoon, SK, 2014-3-4 — /EPR Retail News/ — Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) had a record-setting year in 2013, but the Co-op brand has to keep evolving to sustain growth over the long-term, Scott Banda, CEO, shared with more than 350 western Canadian delegates at FCL’s 85th annual meeting in Saskatoon.
“We face increasingly complex markets with sophisticated competitors, and yet 2013 was a record year for our co-operatives,” Banda said. “We can continue to compete by strategically investing to maximize our community impacts. Working together, we can use our Federation’s size and collective strength to capture opportunities that we cannot pursue alone.”
To illustrate that the Co-op business model is working, Banda pointed to FCL’s record $9.4 billion in sales last year, a $600 million increase over 2012. From $879 million in net earnings, $574 million was returned to local retail co-ops across the federation. FCL invested another $512 million in completing projects that included expanding the Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina, constructing the Carseland petroleum terminal near Calgary, and finishing a warehouse expansion in Saskatoon.
Banda thanked retail co-ops for their support and acknowledged all employees for their collective work in 2013. Together they made FCL the 48th largest company in Canada.
“For 85 years, our Federation has built the Co-op legacy in Western Canada by making life better in our communities,” Banda said. “Going forward, our challenge is to stay relevant by growing and evolving to meet our customers’ needs.”
FCL’s 2014 strategy is to leverage its gains by investing in internal capacity so that the growth lasts. Banda suggested that this can be accomplished by taking advantage of the scale that FCL and the retail cooperatives have together in the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS). This approach was evident when 17 Viterra fertilizer and seed centres were purchased last year, as well as when 14 Sobeys/Safeway grocery stores and four gas bars were acquired last month.
This strategy will lead to even better performance, predicted Glen Tully, who is retiring as FCL’s President and Board Chair this year.
“We’re truly on track to set the world standard in consumer co-operative excellence,” Tully said. “I’m confident that we’ll succeed, primarily because our values of integrity, excellence and responsibility will continue to shape our efforts going forward.”
Saskatoon-based FCL is owned by 225 retail co-op members across Western Canada. Together, the Co-operative Retailing System employs 23,000 people throughout Western Canada and serves more than 1.6 million members and other customers at 2,500 retail locations in 500 communities. Over the past 10 years, FCL has returned more than $4.1 billion to its retail member-owners. This money is reinvested by local retail co-ops in their operations to address their members and customers’ needs.