Co-operative Group chief executive Peter Marks has warned that the tough trading climate will persist into 2011.

Despite a good performance which saw like-for-like sales over the 12 weeks to January 2, 2010 grow by 4.8%, the 16th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, Marks said: "Looking ahead, we expect the economic pressures to continue until the end of 2010, or the first half of 2011."

Meat and poultry, chilled foods, beers, wines and spirits and confectionery all performed well over the festive season.

Marks singled out Co-op store staff and delivery teams for praise. "The success of Group businesses this Christmas is in no small part due their outstanding efforts. They have gone out of their way to ensure products reached customers in some of the worst weather conditions in decades."

The Southern Co-operative announced record Christmas figures with a 9.96% like -for-like food sales increase, while East of England Co-operative said like-for-like sales in its food stores in the four week to January 9 were up by 6.9%.