FOOD and health care sales have been key drivers in further growth at United Co-operatives, said the society announcing its results for the half year to 23 July.
Underlying trading profit for the period was up 13.5 per cent to £ 26.083 million, while sales increased 12.6 per cent to £ 1.022m.
Peter Marks, United's Chief Executive, told the News: "Every area of the business moved forward in the half year, with outstanding results being achieved in our food and health care operations."
The food group sales for the half year rose to £ 436.9m from £ 387.1m, an increase of 12.9 per cent. Like for like sales in the convenience sector were up 3.4 per cent.
Travel sales rose to £ 291.0m from £ 259.7m, which was an increase of 12.1 per cent compared to the same period last year, against a background of falling consumer demand and strong competition.
Sunwin Motor Group sales increased by 49 per cent to £ 162.1m, from £ 108.8m.
Health care sales climbed to £ 69.8m from £ 64.5m, an increase of 8.2 per cent. Funeral sales rose to £ 18.1m from £ 17.7m.
• Meanwhile, press speculation has linked United with a joint takeover bid of Somerfield with the Livingstone brothers.
The brothers, who own the London & Regional property group, are reported to be talking to the society about a deal that would see them gaining 500 stores if their bid is successful.
The brothers along with the consortium of Barclays Capital, Robert Tchenguiz and Apax Partners, are expected to table bids this month.
A United spokesman said: "We do not comment on speculation. However, we reaffirm that we are determined to purchase more stores in the sectors that we trade."