Pre-tax profits at the food-to-funerals mutual fell to £17 million in the first half of 2016 from £36 million in the same period last year. Sales edged up 2.2 per cent to £4.7 billion.
Like-for-like sales at the Co-op’s core food business rose rose 3.1 per cent – the sixth consecutive quarter of revenue growth. The insurance arm did well, with premiums ahead 29 per cent and profits leaping to £11m from £2m.
Profits at its funerals business fell £5m to £42m as the group said that a lower death rate was offset by increased pre-paid funerals.
The Co-op wrote down £45m on its remaining 20 per cent-plus stake in Co-op Bank, valuing the holding at £140m “consistent with falls in bank valuations generally”.
Chief executive Richard Pennycook hailed the progress that had been made but said “much needs to be done”.