Report: Grocery Cooperatives Prospered in 2001

WASHINGTON, DC - The nation's top wholesale grocery cooperatives earned more than $29 billion in revenue during 2001, according to this year's NCB Co-op 100, an annual report issued by the National Cooperative Bank (NBC) on the nation's 100 highest revenue-earning cooperatives.

Of the 100 cooperative businesses on the NCB Co-op 100, 20 are grocery co-ops. Led by Wakefern Food Corp., based in Elizabeth, N.J., the list includes TOPCO Associates Inc., Roundy's Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Unified Western Grocers, Associated Food Stores, Associated Wholesalers Inc., Central Grocers Co-op, Associated Grocers Inc., Affiliated Foods Midwest Co-op Inc., Affiliated Foods Inc., URM Stores, Certified Grocers Midwest, Affiliated Foods Southwest, Western Family Holding Company, Piggly Wiggly Alabama, Associated Grocers, Key Food Stores Cooperative, Inc., Associated Grocers of Florida Inc., and Associated Grocers of the South Inc.

The cooperative sector has continued to thrive even through difficult times, producing increased earnings for its members, notes the NBC. During fiscal year 2001, FORTUNE 500 companies posted a record 53 percent drop in the year's profits. In contrast, America's top 100 cooperatives generated total revenue of more than $130 billion, according to the NBC. Agriculture, grocery, energy and communications, and finance sectors all earned higher revenues than the previous year.

There are nearly 50,000 cooperatives in the United States, owned by some 120 million Americans, and outnumbering public companies by four to one. A cooperative is similar to other business models, but has several unique features. A cooperative is owned and controlled by members who have joined together to use the co-op's goods, services, and facilities. A board of directors, elected by the membership, sets the co-op's policies and procedures. By pooling their resources through cooperative ownership, members can increase their power to buy, sell, market, or bargain as one group. They can join in economies of scale and share in any profits the co-op generates.

The entire NCB Co-op 100 report, as well as additional information on cooperatives, is available at
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