Coop members can expect a higher refund rate next year, Alexander Zavelle, general merchandise manager at the Coop, said yesterday.
Zavelle said Coop profits will rise to make this possible. The new profits will come mainly from the new Med School Coop which is opening today, he said.
Another high Coop official said that increased sales at the Tech Coop will be more important in boosting Coop profits, but agreed that a rebate hike is likely.
The official said that John G. Morrill, the Coop's general manager, stated last week that an increase to an 8 1/2 per cent rebate on cash purchases, and a 6 1/2 per cent rebate on credit purchases, is "conceivable." Neither spokesman expects the hike will come before the Coop's fiscal year ends on June 30.
The new Coop branch, located at Longwood and Brookline Avenues in Boston, was built for sales to Harvard Medical School faculty and students. Zavelle said the stores will make higher proportional profits on its sales because it will not stock a large textbook section, but concentrate instead on the fast-selling items carried by the old Coop building on Harvard Square.
"Textbooks have always been a drag on sales, though Coop members find that hard to believe," Zavelle said. He explained that textbooks require a large outlay for slow sales. The new store, only 30 per cent larger than a single floor of the Palmer St. Annex, will contain a medical text reference department, and will not have room for more.
The other Coop official stressed "smoother operation" at the Tech Coop, which opened in 1966. He added that the Tech branch is learning from experience what merchandise to stock for the highest profits.
Zavelle predicted the Coop will gross about $15.5 million in sales this year, an increase of 10 per cent over last year's $14.1 million. The gross next year, he said, will reach $16.5 to $17 million. This is the figure that Morrill said last September would justify a raise in the rebate.
Zavelle said this sales level should still justify raising the rebate, but that rising overheads might eat up the extra profits. Morrill was on vacation and unavailable for comment.