The Lincolnshire Co-operative has broken its sales record of £300m for the first time in the society’s 155-year history, as food sales rose by 6.9% in the 2015-16 financial year compared to the previous year.

Local goods drove growth in sales, with Lincolnshire Co-op’s own bakers Gadsby’s increasing sales by 7%, while sales of the Love Local range, featuring local meat and goods from small producers, grew by 9%.

The society saw sales rise by £9m to £301m for the 2015-16 financial year, with trading surplus up by 4% to £20m. 

Over the year, £18.8m was invested in developments, including opening eight new outlets. Refurbishments took place at a further 35 outlets including a number of the society’s post offices. 

The retailer’s ‘Community Champions’ scheme, which links dividend card holders to good causes near them, saw donations combined with staff fundraising and the proceeds from the carrier bag levy. A combined 579 organisations shared in £320,804 raised throughout the year, including Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire wildlife trusts and Charities Rethink Mental Illness and Headway, which benefited £81,636 and £86,984 respectively. 

Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive for Lincolnshire Co-op, said: “We have had a fantastic year thanks to the support of our 260,000 local members. We’re successful and able to reach milestones such as £300m of sales or recruiting almost 25,000 new members because customers know we offer something different as a co-operative. People choose Lincolnshire Co-op because of our great people and range of services, but also because they know every penny spent with us makes a difference.”

A profit share scheme has seen 2,900 colleagues also benefit and paid the equivalent of an extra week and a half’s wages.

More than 260,000 members own Lincolnshire Co-op and receive a share of the profits in dividend. More than 24,800 people signed up to be members of Lincolnshire Co-op in 2015/16.