The Midcounties Co-operative has announced a record 20% increase in annual sales and a £1.3m rise in operating profits.

The society’s food business contributed to the overall positive performance, delivering a like-for-like sales increase of 1% and total sales of £597 million – a “very strong” 8% increase on the previous year, despite the challenging trading environment, said chief executive Ben Reid (pictured).

This had been achieved through continued focus on customer delivery along with the purchase of the Harry Tuffins supermarket chain and six new store openings, he added.

The group also provided £580,000 worth of support to community projects in the year to January 29 and colleagues gave more than 40,000 hours of volunteer time.

The rapid growth of its energy business, and steep sales increases in its travel and childcare businesses, also contributed to the overall boost.  

“The results demonstrate a strong financial performance which has justified this investment and gives us a portfolio of businesses well placed to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead,” Reid added.