Midlands Co-operative Society, the UK’s second-largest independent co-op, has reported a 7% jump in half-year sales. Sales rose to £456m in the six months to 9 August, with sales in its food business rising from £266m last year to £286m. The society said like-for-like sales in stores not facing new competition had shown “encouraging growth”, but did not reveal figures.

Midlands Co-op was in a strong financial position and would continue to explore opportunities to expand through organic growth, new openings and acquisitions, said CEO John Fitzgerald. “The society has achieved a pleasing set of figures, leaving us free to pursue opportunities for growing our business,” he added. “Our balance sheet enables us to face the future with confidence.”

Midlands Co-op also revealed it was currently replacing in-store IT systems in all of its stores.