A £1.3m refurbishment programme helped the Heart of England Co-operative Society achieve like-for-like food sales growth of 5.5% in the five weeks leading up to Christmas.

Sales in the society's revamped Balsall Common and New Bilton stores in Warwickshire increased by 36% and 20% during the period, with sales of fresh produce especially strong.

Store refurbs would continue this year, said CEO Ali Kurji, with two confirmed and a third being considered.