East of England Co-operative Society has posted a 4.1% increase in half-year trading profits.

Profits rose to £7.5m in the 28 weeks to 7 August, the society said, with sales up 0.9% to £193.1m.

CEO Richard Samson said the results were "credible". He added: "All the signs are that there will be no easing of the tough economic climate through the remainder of this year and probably throughout 2011.

"However, our strong ­financial position has ­enabled us to invest with no net borrowings and we are well placed."

The society is also continuing its store development programme. It recently acquired a food store in Ipswich and is building a new store in Colchester. It also carried out major store refurbishments in two food stores during the period.

East of England Co-op is the UK's third-largest co-op, with more than 200 stores across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.