The Post Office has recorded a £5m increase in profit in its first six months as an independent business.

In its first trading statement since separating from the Royal Mail Group in April, the Post Office recorded an operating profit of £61m for the six months to September 23, compared to the previous year’s figure of £56m. The Network Subsidy Payment from the government did, however, increase from £90m in 2011 to £103m in 2012.

Turnover increased from £485m in 2011 to £501m in 2012 while operation costs increased from £418m to £437m.

The Post Office’s Network Transformation Programme also gained momentum with 269 Local and Main-style branches converted in the past six months.

Earlier this year, programme director Neil Ennis told Convenience Store that the Post Office aimed to have converted 1,200 branches by April 2013. By the end of the roll-out in 2015, 6,000 branches, half of the current network, will have been converted.

In a statement, chief executive Paula Vennells commented: “The results for the first six months have been encouraging with strong Mails revenue performance. The plans for growth, modernisation and excellence in customer service are underway and good progress is being made. The strong customer satisfaction results from the new style branch formats are encouraging. But the plans are challenging and there is a significant task ahead.”

The Post Office was also recently awarded a seven-year contract to provide DVLA services through the network. Worth an estimated £60m a year in income, it was seen as “a key stepping stone in the Post Office becoming the front office for the government”.