Growth in fresh and chilled foods helped Midlands Co-operative Society to a rise in profits of almost a fifth for the first half of the financial year.

The society said profits for the six months to 7 August were up 18% to £18.9. Sales rose by 5% to a new high of £526m. Revenues were buoyed by new stores in Dronfield and Dudley, while almost £5m was ploughed into refits of existing premises.

“Against a turbulent economic climate, Midlands Co-operative is continuing to perform strongly and remains in a very stable financial position,” said chief executive Martyn Cheatle.

“The government’s plans to address the budget deficit are likely to reduce disposable incomes of our customers. But I am confident our long-term business strategy and financial stability will continue to provide the resilience to withstand the unpredictable and increasingly competitive conditions facing us in the future.”

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