Turnover for the first half of the year at United Co-operatives has breached the £1bn barrier for the first time.

In half-year results for the 26 weeks to end July 23, United Co-op said that turnover increased 12.6% to stand at £1.022bn.

Peter Marks, chief executive of United Co-op, said that “outstanding performances” in the society’s food and health care groups had helped the rise.

Turnover in the food group increased by £50m or 13% to £439.6m, boosted by sales of fresh food with the percentage of sales in store increasing from 29.5% to 30.8%.

C-stores within the food group had also performed well, Marks added, recording a 3.4% rise in like-for-like sales.

“We are growing organically and by acquisition and both will continue, despite obvious challenges in the second half of the year,” Marks said.