Oxford Swindon & Gloucester Co-op has posted a 5% rise in first half like-for-like sales and 8.9% rise in total sales in its food retail division.

Food retail boss Bill Laird said the growth - ahead of the Co-operative Group at 4%, Budgens at 3.6%, and United Co-operatives at 4% - was driven by investing in refits, a greater emphasis on fresh and a good summer.

Two thirds of the 85-strong estate has now been refurbished.

The 30 Alldays stores the society will acquire from the Co-operative Group would come on stream at a rate of about three a week, said Laird, with the transfer complete by Christmas. “Full refurbishments should be completed by early summer in tandem with our refurbishment programme.”

A handful of new-build stores are also in the pipeline, taking the society’s tally to around 120 food retail stores by next spring, he added.

Group profit rose 20% to £4.3m on sales up 10.3% to £167.3m for the six months to July 26.