Positive Christmas sales helped Nisa to achieve an overall increase of 0.7% for the 39 weeks between April and the end of December 2012.

Like for like sales for the four weeks of December were up 6.7% and volume increased by 9.7% thanks in part to the successful introduction of bread products to central distribution services, Nisa said.

Confectionery and licenced products experienced the most like for like growth through December, up 16.7% and 4.7% in value respectively.

The roll out of a fresh produce trial and national television advertising also helped the Nisa symbol group achieve strong trading figures, with an overall 14.4% increase in sales from October to December 2012.

Recruitment was also buoyant with 190 new members joining between April and December - a 7.9% year-on-year increase on last year’s figures.

Elsewhere, the Midlands Co-operative Society also announced positive trading over the Christmas period.

Like-for-like food sales (excluding fuel) were up 2% year on year for the three weeks to January 5.

More than 283,500 boxes of mince pies, 22,000 packs of sprouts and 11,000kg of parsnips were sold across its estate of 200 food stores.