Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society grew sales almost 6% in the first half of the year.

The society’s food business recorded growth of about 5%, with like-for-like own-label food sales up 10.7%. Travel grew by almost 70%, and furniture sales were “ahead of market norms”. Total like-for-likes grew 5.92%.

The results were good given the economic climate, said CEO Tony Gudgeon. “This is probably the worst retail trading environment I can recall. It is very serious.”