United Co-operatives’ food retail division has posted a 3% rise in first half sales to £387.1m.

The UK’s second largest consumer co-op, United has made two major acquisitions in recent weeks, taking food store numbers up to 513.

And further deals are in the pipeline, with talks in progress regarding other potential targets, said chief executive Peter Marks: “We are growing organically and by acquisition and both will continue, despite obvious challenges in the second half, including the price of oil and higher interest rates.”

Group profit before tax and distributions to members was up 19% to £22.9m on turnover up 8% to £908m in the 26 weeks to July 24.