Falling sales in a “tough” market has profits from The Co-operative Group’s food arm, the UK retailer said today (23 August).

Operating from The Co-op’s food business was GBP119m (US$188.8m) in the half year to 30 June, down from GBP142m a year earlier. The Co-op pointed to “continued investment” in prices, its stores and supply chain.

Sales from its food stores were down 2.2%. Like-for-like sales dropped 1.2%.

“Food’s performance reflected the ongoing tough market, the sale of non-core assets and the impact of unseasonable weather, which disproportionately hits convenience operators,” The Co-op said.

However, The Co-op said like-for-like sales in its new “trial” food stores were up 12%. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the retailer said it was “on track to deliver 80 new stores” and invest “heavily” in NPD.