UK retailer The Co-operative has claimed food sales growth ahead of the rest of the sector as it published its first-half results.

The company booked a 5.2% rise in like-for-like sales compared, it said, to industry growth of 3.5%, according to analysts IGD.

On a consolidated basis, food sales climbed 4.6% to GBP1.7bn (US$3.4bn), while profits from the business jumped almost 17% to GBP64.4m. The buoyant performance from the Co-op's food business contributed to a 30% leap in group profits to GBP166.4m.

"The markets in which we operate remain intensely competitive, but we are confident of making further progress in the second half of the year," said chief executive Peter Marks.