The Co-operative Group has booked a 2.4% increase in sales at its food retail business over Christmas, driven by like-for-like gains and higher growth at its convenience outlets.

The company said in the three weeks ending 5 January like-for-like sales rose 2.2%. Comparable revenue at its convenience stores rose 5.5%, growth the company attributed to targeted promotions and its new advertising campaign.

The Co-operative Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “These results represent a really encouraging and resilient performance in some of the most testing trading conditions for 40 years.”

Marks emphasised that the numbers “helped sustain the positive sales momentum” the group has witnessed in the second-half of the year.

“While conditions remain very challenging, we now enter 2013 in a position where we expect to make continued progress.”

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