Overall gross sales rise 4.7 per cent to £422 million
The Midlands Co-operative Society's steady trading performance in the first half of the year to August 7 saw overall gross sales increase by 4.7 per cent year on year to£422 million.

Trading profits at the UK's third-largest Co-operative climbed 5.7 per cent to£10.9 million, with retail making a strong contribution to growth. The society, which operates mainly in food and non-food retailing, dairy, travel and funeral services, has opened three new stores and acquired 30 former Alldays shops in the past year.

Pre-tax profits grew 24 per cent during the half year to£16.4 million. The society also said it would make its first dividend payment on its Members' Card scheme, which launched last November.