CO-OPERATIVE DID LARGE BUSINESS DURING 1916-1917
Dividends of Six and Eight Per Cent. May be Obtained at Main Store Today.
The annual report of President William Bennett Munro '99, of the Co-operative Society for the fiscal year extending from July 1, 1916 to June 30, 1917, shows a large increase in the volume of business and in the size of the membership over the year of 1915-16. The total sales of merchandise jumped from $445.391.45 to $561,101.05--an increase of $115,709.60. Correspondingly the membership enrolled was 5,035 as compared with 3,196 for the year preceding. Of the total 1,855 are officers or students of the Institute of Technology. The number of members from the University and Radcliffe College showed a decrease of 16.
A slight change of policy in regard to the payment of dividends will be inaugurated this autumn. Heretofore the dividend checks have been distributed in October or November, but in any case several weeks after the opening of the University. The dividends for the year 1916-1917, however, will be paid on and after September 24. After deducting from the profits certain amounts for the reserves there remained available for dividends at the main store $16,894.13 and at the Technology branch $5,928.51, a total of $22,822.64. The amount so available a year ago was $15,202.84. Last year a dividend at the rate of nine per cent, on all cash sales and seven per cent, on all credit sales was paid to members and the net earnings of the Society would permit the payment of dividends at the same rate this autumn. In view, however, of the almost certain reduction in the number of students at the University during the coming college year and the resulting falling off in the business which the Society must prepare for in consequence, it was unanimously agreed both by the Directors and the Stockholders that a reduction in the rate of dividend should be made. Accordingly the dividend to be paid to members for the past year will be eight per cent. on all cash purchases and six per cent on credit purchases. These rates of dividend will apply to the Technology branch as well.
Net Profits Were $36,050.93.
The net profits at the main store and the Cambridge branch for the year were $29,074.24 as against $24,457.61 in 1915-16, an increase of $4,616.63. The net profits of the Technology branch were $6,976.69, making the entire net earnings of the Society during the twelve months $36,050.93.
President Munro concludes his report with the following statement in regard to the outlook for 1917-18:
"From all appearances there will be a considerable falling off in sales during the coming year and consequently a decrease in net earnings, for it is not possible to make a curtailment of expenses proportioned to the loss in sales. Interest, taxes, light, heat, insurance and many other items will be as large as ever, some of them larger. The Superintendent and the Directors, in preparing the expense budget for 1917-18 have reduced the past year's total (chiefly by reducing the number of employees) to the extent of about ten per cent. It did not appear practicable to go further without endangering the permanent interests of the business by giving inferior service to customers. But the reduction in attendance will certainly be much more than ten per cent. and the Co-operative Society will be very fortunate if its business does not shrink in corresponding ratio. For this reason every effort will be made to secure larger patronage from the University's population, what-ever it happens to be, and also to develop business with Harvard alumni living in Cambridge, Boston, or neighboring communities. Practically every branch of University activity faces a deficit for the coming year. The Co-operative Society will endeavor to earn and pay dividends as usual, but it must have the loyal support of its members to do so."