Like-for-like sales soared 3.4% at Southern Co-operatives over Christmas.

Total sales in the two weeks to 30 December 2012 rose by more than 10%, buoyed by new store openings.

The society, which has 168 stores across the southern counties, opened 15 new stores last year. Top performing new stores were Horsham in West Sussex, Pill in Avon and Chobham in Surrey, it said.

“Our store teams certainly rose to the challenge of achieving good like-for-like growth in such a competitive market with consumer spending remaining under pressure,” said CEO Mark Smith

“We were particularly pleased with like for like increases in excess of 5% in chilled food and produce categories as core stores beat the challenging forecasts they had been set,” he added.

The figures comes ahead of The Co-operative Group, which is expected to update on trading next week.