Caused by investment spending, according to the Gazette here. Meanwhile, sales were up.
What this shows is that conglomerates like the Co-op can balance lower profits in one area with bigger profits from another business, It is also a reminder that they have an advantage over high street law firms in being able to invest when times are hard.
I admit that this is the Co-op not Tesco, but it illustrates how our brave new legal world will work, as I have predicted.
I picked up a brochure for Co-operative employee benefits this morning. They are very keen on childcare vouchers, although their bike scheme appears to have disappeared. Nestled among the sheets advertising broadband and energy deals was one for Co-operative Legal Services. This covers will writing and probate/estate administration.
All of the brochure is aimed at employers, not employees, and covers ways of providing employee benefits. So the legal services are presented in that light, not least the discounted fees.
The result? The Co-op get the employer to make the introduction to the client, and to push the product (and wills are generally a good idea). Even if the employee has made a will, they may be interested in other services, where the discount will not be available.
And we wonder how the Co-op will keep 3,000 additional staff busy.
The SRA has announced the first ABS authorisations. These are:
Co-operative Legal Services
John Welch & Stammers (solicitors in Witney)
Lawbridge Solicitors Limited (of Sidcup)
Lawbridge is authorised as of today, 28th March 2012, John Welch & Stammers from 6th April, and Co-op from 16th April.
Let battle commence!
I have belatedly caught up with the Gazette’s interview with Christina Blacklaws of TV Edwards and now Director of Co-operative Legal Services (CLS). Read it here.
Interesting, but not very challenging as an interview. Clearly there is a challenge for those solicitors working in family law on the High Street, given the coverage of the Co-op. How the price competition works out will be interesting – the Co-op is not traditionally the cheapest for groceries or for insurance, yet will still have the possible economies of scale. I still think that Tesco will be bigger competition, if they do indeed decide to enter the legal market.