The Co-op has posted a jump in profitability during the first half of its financial year and confirmed the acquisition of healthcare tech start-up Dimec.

The mutual said group pre-tax profit surged 85.7% to £26m during the 26 weeks to July 7. Underlying pre-tax profit more than trebled to £10m across the group.

The figures were driven by the Co-op’s core convenience food business, which benefited from the acquisition of Nisa and strong like-for-like sales growth.

Underlying operating profit in its food division jumped 23% to £80m, as same-store sales increased 4.4%.

Two more quarters of growth at the start of its financial year meant the Co-op has now kept sales in positive territory for 18 consecutive quarters.

The Co-op’s total food sales were up 3% to £3.6bn, while wholesale revenues came in at £269m.

Dimec purchase

The Co-op is in the midst of its ‘Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities’ plan, part of which focuses on disrupting new markets.

The mutual confirmed this morning that it has completed the acquisition of healthcare technology start-up Dimec, a platform that allows patients and doctors to interact and manage their prescriptions.

The Co-op said the business has been bought for an undisclosed sum by its new innovation unit, Co-op Ventures.

Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said: “We’re moving forward at pace with our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities plan, which we set out at the beginning of the year.

“We know that in order to make a difference, we have to be commercially successful and our performance in the first half shows that we’re delivering on that ambition.

“Our investment in products, price and distribution channels has seen us grow revenue, profit and member value in the first six months.”