Former United co-op chief executive Martin Beaumont's first task in taking over as chief executive of the Co-operative Group was to report a major leap in interim operating profit to #113.9m for the half-year ended June 29. The food retailing arm of the business achieved sales up #43.2m to #1,140.6m, with like-for-like sales up 3.9%, but sales in the Welcome c-store division were up 7%. There was also an upturn in acquisitions including the 13-store GT Smith and seven-store Williams groups. >> page 37 {{NEWS }}