The Co-operative Group is keen to take the momentum gained at Christmas into 2007, Guy McCracken said this week.

Rebranding stores to the Co-op Group's new fascia was expected to be key.

About 180 stores were refitted to the new look during 2006 and a further 250 refits are planned in 2007.

This week the Co-op's Healthy Living range was relaunched in stores using new own-label branding that reflects the new fascia, which the Co-op Group had originally hoped all societies would adopt. A further 1,500 products will be re-packaged in the coming year.

The Co-op's buying alliance with Spar was going well, he said. "I have a great deal of time for Spar and we are starting to work with suppliers," he added.

Last month the Co-operative Group and United Co-operatives revealed they were in talks about coming together to create a business with annual sales of £10.5bn. "It is good that the boards are having this discussion," McCracken added.