The UK’s largest independent co-operative, Central England Co-op, will open three new convenience stores and three refits in a single day at the end of the month.

The huge logistical feat will be the first time it has opened so many stores at the same time.

News of the 26 May opening bonanza came after the retailer reported sales of £843.5m in the year to 28 January, broadly in line with the previous year.

It was a period in which it made a record capital investment of £45.6m and operating profit also remained broadly on par with the previous year.

The 26 May openings will be in Horsley Woodhouse, and Inkersall – both in Derbyshire - as well as Measham, Leicestershire.

The refits will be in Grangewood Road, Chesterfield, Fradley Park, Staffordshire and Little Eaton, Derbyshire.

A spokesman said “eight or nine“ new stores, including the three, would open by the end of this calendar year and 15-16 refits.

Chelmsley Wood, in Birmingham, opened last Friday to take the number of convenience stores, accounting for more than two thirds of the retail estate, to 195.

It opened nine new food stores last year and extensively refurbished more than 40.

The society said continued investment in growth the food and funeral arms of the business remained part of its long-term strategy and resulted in strong sales in its convenience store estate.

Martin Cheatle, chief executive, said: “We achieved a very pleasing performance in 2016 from both a financial and non-financial perspective, underlying our efforts to be a modern, progressive member owner co-operative business.

“With a retail sector that is both very challenging and highly competitive, we delivered a resilient performance that has helped form the solid bedrock for continued stability, investment and growth.

He expected trading conditions to remain “challenging and competitive for the foreseeable future”, but the society had clear strategies in place to optimise its “co-operative and ethical point of difference and focus on continuous improvement in order to deliver sustainable business growth for the benefit of our members, customers and local communities”.