Chelmsford Star Co-op has announced a 5.08% rise like-for-like sales in its food stores in the three-week period from 16 December to 5 January.

The society, which owns 40 convenience stores across Essex, attributed the rise to last-minute Christmas shoppers and new year bargains.

Society chief executive officer, Barry Wood, reported a “generally positive” performance over the Christmas trading period.

He said: “The Society’s performance reflects the sterling efforts our colleagues have put in over the Christmas period, and to be rewarded with a strong like for like performance at this key time is very pleasing”.