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Co-op profits surge on strong food  sales and Nisa takeover

Profits at The Co-operative Group have nearly doubled thanks to strong food sales and a boost from its ?143m takeover of Nisa.
The supermarket-to-funerals business recorded an 85pc jump in pre-tax profits to ?26m in the first half of its financial year, as sales climbed 10pc to ?5bn.
The World Cup and a prolonged spell of hot weather helped the food business continue its winning streak. The Co-Operative also managed to avoid problems caused by the carbon dioxide shortage over the summer months, which affected other supermarkets' supply chains.
Like-for-like sales in the food business, which exclude store openings and closures, grew for the 18th consecutive quarter at 4.4pc in the six months to July.
It came as the Co-Operative announced the acquisition of healthcare technology start-up Dimec, which allows patients to use an app to see their health records, make GP appointments and order prescriptions.
Co-op profits surge on strong food  sales and Nisa takeover

Chairman Allan Leighton
Co-op non-executive chairman Allan Leighton said the group’s growth comes despite a tough trading environment and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
He said: "Against a backdrop of increasing national uncertainty, I'm pleased that the Co-op has continued to perform successfully during the first half of the year.
"It is in these times of volatility that our way of doing business, which gives back to our members and the communities we operate in, becomes even more important."
Nisa, the corner shop chain and wholesaler, struck a deal with the the Co-op after talks with supermarket giant Sainsbury’s fell flat.
Co-op’s wholesale business booked sales of ?269m following the Nisa acqusition, but sunk to a ?5m loss due to the cost of the deal.
By the end of this year, the Co-op will supply 850 of its own-branded product lines to Nisa partners.
The Co-op's funeral business performed well in the period, with sales up 5pc to ?174m, thanks in part to a higher death rate in the first quarter.
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