LINCOLNSHIRE Co-op's profits have risen by 19 per cent during the first half of the year to 4th March.
The society's trading surplus rose by £ 1.3 million to £ 7.9 million, on a turnover of £ 98.7 million.
Turnover in the core divisions of food, pharmacy, travel and funerals moved forward, the funeral division assisted by the acquisition of four outlets.
Minor rationalisation of business units resulted in decreased turnover in petrol filling stations, post offices and Holland Brothers Jaguar. Home stores showed a reverse in difficult market conditions.
The most significant factor affecting the results was the closure in the previous year of several Rover dealerships and the sale in April 2005 of the society's diary to Dairy Farmers of Britain.
This depressed group turnover but had a very positive effect on profitability. The strong performance of food and pharmacy divisions and a much better result from Jaguar also aided the improvement in profits.
Ursula Lidbetter, the society's Chief Executive, told the News: "2005 was a year of restructuring and consolidation. We are now seeing the very positive results of that work. We have invested in upgrading many of our food stores and pharmacies and this has had a positive effect on sales and customer service.
"We have also been pursuing our strategy of developing community facilities which support our wider aims and often give us opportunities for trading outlets.
"We are refurbishing Newland Health Centre in Lincoln for the local doctors' practice, we have completed a parade of small shops adjacent to our new foodstore at North Hykeham and we are nearing completion of a substantial office redevelopment for a local building company."
The society recruited 5,000 new members in the six month period and staff shared in the society's success through a twice yearly bonus which has paid out £ 469,000 to 2,300 employees to reflect the half year's performance.