Co-operatives are overcoming some tough trading conditions and producing market-beating performances.
The Co-operative Group pointed to a focus on better shops, products and service for an almost 30% rise in profits at its food division. Like-for-like food sales were up 4.4%, while like-for-like sales in the group's convenience store estate rose 7.9%.
Ahead of its planned merger with United Co-operatives, pre-tax profits increased 17.6% to £318m although revenue fell 0.7% to £7.3bn.
United Co-operatives revealed record profits for 2006 ahead of the merger vote. The society enjoyed a 5.5% increase in turnover in 2006, while pre-tax profits before exceptional items were up 22.8% and the group's net assets rose by 27.5% to £406m.
Midcounties Co-operative announced underlying trading profit of £9.6m - up from £6.3m in the previous year - while sales rose 42% from £421m to £597m.