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UK consumer-owned co-operative chain the Co-operative Group has hailed the performance of its pharmacies despite competition in the sector.
The Manchester-based business has the third-largest pharmacy operation in the UK, with 700 outlets and 5,000 employees.
Established in 1863, the group has expanded into food retail, banking, insurance, funeral services, travel agents and farms.
Chief executive Peter Marks said the pharmaceutical business saw strong trading in the 28 weeks to 28 July.
Profits at Co-op branches rose by more than a third to Â£15.4m, with prescription growth ahead of the market.
The Co-op said it expanded its pharmacies by acquisition, but also reported good organic sales growth.
But overall group profits were down 38% to Â£115.7m due to the impact of insurance payouts following summer floods in the UK, and restructuring costs.
Mr Marks said: â€œThe markets in which we operate remain intensely competitive, but we are confident of making further progress in the second half of the year.â€
In July, the Co-op completed a merger with another UK co-operative, Rochdale-based United Co-operatives, creating the worldâ€™s largest consumer co-operative with 4.5 million members and 87,500 staff.
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