Midcounties Co-operative has recorded a 20% increase in trading profit to £12m for the first half of 2009.

The group posted a 2% increase in gross sales for the period, a 6.4% increase in sales for the food group and 7.5% like-for-like growth. It also recruited 34,000 new members during this period.

Chief executive Ben Reid said that these results were ‘outstanding’ and well beyond expectations.

“The launch of the Co-operative brand, supported by good store standards, is resulting in strong like-for-like growth,” he said. “We are gaining new customers every week and increasing the average spend of our existing customers. In retailing terms, this is a very good performance. Shoppers are re-discovering the Co-op and that can only bode well for the future.”

Reid also said that this success had been achieved without compromising the Co-operative’s principles.

“As a co-operative, we cannot just be about profit at any price – it has to be profit with a purpose,” he added. “Our purpose is to build our business, engage with our committees and reward our members and, on all of these headings, we have scored well.”