Co-op's figures outpace rivals

Co-operative Group claimed to have outperformed rival grocers when it posted a 6 per cent rise in convenience store like-for-like sales.

Food sales at the business rose 9 per cent to£2.6 billion, and profits rose 52 per cent to£69.5 million.

The retailer's acquisition of Alldays last year should drive further growth and generate cash for further acquisitions, said chief operating officer for retail Malcolm Hepworth.

Co-op's pharmacies division, National Co-operative Chemists, returned profits of£9.8 million, up£3.9 million year on year.

Hepworth said that pharmaceutical deregulation could also prove an opportunity for the group.