The Lothian and Borders Co-operative Society (LBC) was formed in 1992 following the amalgamation of two Regional Societies: Border Regional and East Lothian. Upon its amalgamation, LBC was providing for 50,000 members with services including 7 superstores, 11 supermarkets and 22 grocery stores. LBC had also retained some of its means of production including a farm, a bakery and a dairy. LBC traded for only 6 years before it merged with the Angus Co-operative Society to form the Lothian, Borders, and Angus Co-operative Society.
LBC was a large Regional Society with many local branches and retail services. The history of the LBC is one of co-operative society mergers and amalgamations. Many co-operative societies in the Lothian and Scottish Borders Regions were set up in the mid to late Nineteenth Century. These were local societies such as Selkirk, Tranent, and Annan which generally ran from one or two branches. As these societies began to grow, it became increasingly common for local societies to merge. Through creating larger societies, they were able to take advantage of wholesale buying and selling techniques to enable them to provide quality products at reasonable prices.
The trend for societies to merge into increasingly large organisations continued through the Twentieth Century leading to large and powerful district co-operatives such as Tranent and Haddington, and Dumfries and Maxwelltown. Further amalgamations during the 1980s led to the number of societies in the area reduced to two, Border Regional and East Lothian. In January 1992 these regional societies merged to form LBC which was at the time, the largest retail employer in the Borders Region with a turnover of £60 million.
During the 1990s LBC enjoyed increases in profits despite little growth in the local economy, acheiving £15.7 million in gross profits for 1997/98. Chief executive Alistair Bennett explained the growth and profitability as a result of continued investment in new stores and an ongoing refurbishment programme. In July 1998 a merger was proposed between LBC and East Angus Co-operative Society which took place on the 14 September 1998. The amalgamation of the two societies into the Lothian, Borders, and Angus Society, led to a combined turnover of over £100 million, and profitability of £4 million. Former chief executive of LBC, Alistair Bennett, became the new chief executive of Lothian, Borders, and Angus Society, and former Chief executive of East Angus, Ian Anderson, became the deputy chief executive. Lothian, Borders, and Angus Co-operative Society merged with The Co-operative Group in 2008.
- Maxwell, W. M., History of Co-operation in Scotland: Its inception and its leaders, (Glasgow: Co-operative Union, 1910)
- Kinloch, James and Butt, John, History of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd (Glasgow: CWS Ltd, 1981)
- Co-operative News (Manchester: Co-operative Press Ltd, 1992)
- Co-operative News (Manchester: Co-operative Press Ltd, 1998)
- The Co-operative Directory (Manchester: Co-operative Union Ltd, 1998)