The Co-op said that total annual turnover at its 41 societies has increased by 6.9% and outperformed rival grocers by some 3%.

Co-op food stores increased market share in the UK grocery market by 0.1% to 5.8% with store numbers up from 6,043 to 6,744. Total sales grew by 4.3% to £11.9bn.

Chief executive of Co-operatives UK, Dame Pauline Green, told the annual Co-operative Congress in Manchester: "For over 160 years co-ops have been an important part of the British landscape. Many of us have grown up with the Co-op as our local high street shop or as an employer.

"Today, more and more people are coming to realise that co-ops can truly deliver the services they need and these results will help us carry this on in the future."

During the year, the Co-operative Group acquired the Alldays convenience store chain for £133m to increase its focus on c-stores and market town supermarkets.

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