The Midcounties Co-operative has announced a 35% increase in trading profit for the past year.

It recorded a trading profit of £26m, a record for the group and up from the previous year's figure of £19.3m. The group's food offering saw a 30% increase in profits, making it the most profitable arm of the business.

Chief executive Ben Reid was especially proud of the results after what he deemed a tough year, but believes the group will have to work equally hard over the next 12 months. "It has been a challenging but rewarding year and we now have to focus on the future," he said. "There is every indication that the economic climate is going to remain difficult."

Midcounties president Patrick Gray added that although the group would be looking to promote on a national scale in the future, it would remain dedicated to community-based values. "Midcounties will remain essentially regionally based, accountable locally to members who live close enough to know their representatives first-hand," he said. "Underpinned by our success in the market place, this model makes us a beacon for the future of the Co-operative movement."