The Midlands Co-operative has reported strong Christmas trading with like-for-like sales up 2% as the convenience sector enjoyed a busy festive period.

The 200-store grocer, which trades under The Co-operative Food fascia, reported total sales up 9.8% in the three weeks to January 5.

The mutual, which employs 7,500 people across the Midlands, sold 283,500 boxes of mince pies, 22,000 packs of sprouts and 11,000kg of parsnips during the period. 

Sainsbury’s attributed much of its growth over Christmas to the convenience channel while Morrisons admitted its lack of stores in the sector cost it festive sales.

Chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “The busy festive period is a key time for retailers and it is very pleasing to be able to announce that, once again, Midlands Co-operative has improved its sales performance in our core food business compared to last year.”

He added: “The ongoing economic difficulties continue to present all businesses with challenges and our fashion and home business has come under particular pressure as a result of this. 

“However, we are confident that our clear strategy for growth combined with the hard work and commitment of colleagues and support of our members and customers will continue to enable Midlands Co-operative to grow and prosper.”