Central England Co-operative has reported a £5.3m rise in profits to £16.6m for the year ending January 27.

The society announced in its 2017/18 financial results that total sales were up 2.4% from £843.5m to £848.3m. The company’s forecourts and convenience stores also delivered volume growth of 3.8% and 1.3% respectively.

The company said that growth had been driven by continued strong sales across its food store estate and long-term investment in expanding its retail arms.

The society’s chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We achieved a very encouraging and robust performance in 2017 from both a financial and non-financial perspective, underlining our strength as a modern, progressive, co-operative business.

“We remain confident in our strategy and our co-operative point of difference to deliver sustainable business growth and provide a relevant and attractive proposition for our members, customers and local communities.”

Central England Co-operative opened seven new food stores in 2017 and rolled out its large scale refurbishment programme to a further 30 stores.

The community retailer also reached its £1.5m fund-raising target the year. The company’s staff and members have chosen Dementia UK as their new corporate charity partner.

Stakeholder groups of members, colleagues and communities will benefit from the society’s financial performance, sharing a £3.7m payout.