Hungary: Consumer and Marketing Co-operatives (1992)

      This document has been made available in electronic format
           by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA      



Source : Janos Juhas :  Co-operatives in Eastern and Central
Europe, Hungary; Studies & Reports, Twenty-first in series; ICA,
Geneva, 1992, 61pp., price 20 Swiss Francs

Consumer and Marketing Co-operatives:

The general consumer and marketing co-operatives (AFESZ) aim to
provide retail and catering services to their members. In
addition, they purchase agricultural produce from small-scale,
mainly part-time, producers and organize and promote agricultural
associations. Most of the general consumer and marketing co-operatives run various
production and service plants and workshops involved in industrial, food processing and
repair activities.

     General consumer and marketing co-operatives (1989)

Number of co-operatives                           273.0 
Number of members (thousands)                   1,546.0 
Number of full-time employees (thousands)         100.6 
Share capital (HUF million)                       921.0  
Number of retail shops                         14,781.0  
Number of catering units                        6,655.0  

Sales  (HUF billion)          
Retail trade                                      192.7
of which: Catering                                 21.6
Wholesale trade                                    14.7
Purchase of agricultural produce                    9.3
Industrial production and construction              9.6
Other activities                                    2.9
TOTAL                                             229.2 

A typical general consumer and marketing co-operative covers a
geographical area of 10 villages and has 78 outlets, of which 54
are shops and 24 are catering units. In addition, it has 2 or 3
department stores, which generally operate in the same locality
as the co-operative's head office. In the field of non-commercial
activities, a typical consumer co-operative runs a fruit or
vegetable processing plant (e.g. a canning plant producing
traditional, local products with low-tech methods) and a small
industrial or repair workshop. 

In international terms the typical Hungarian consumer co-operative may be considered to be
medium sized. It has about 6 thousand members and employs some 360 people. These figures are
much greater than those for similar co-operatives in Denmark or Finland, but are far below
those in Switzerland or Great Britain. As to its business activity, the "average" consumer
co-operative has an annual total turnover of HUF 800 million, of which its surplus comes to
HUF 17 million. It has assets of some HUF 127 million, including HUF 3 million share
capital. The co-operative purchases 1200 tons of various agricultural produce, mainly
potatoes, fruit and vegetables, and the value of its industrial products is about HUF 25