Grocery chain the Co-op noticed gross sales rise within the first half of the yr as prospects shopped nearer to dwelling and ate out much less through the pandemic.
Like-for-like gross sales in meals, which strip out the impact of recent outlets opening, elevated by 8.8% within the six months to 24 July.
Its boss stated: “We are living in unprecedented times, but the response of our Co-op has been exceptional.”
Co-op expects coronavirus-related prices to hit £97m for the complete yr.
Chief government Steve Murrells instructed the BBC’s Today programme that the enhance in gross sales was largely all the way down to “people shopping more locally during the crisis”.
“We’re finding that when lockdowns happen… the average basket size doubles, but also local deliveries are very popular.”
Mr Murrells added that 1.7 million new households had shopped at a Co-op retailer for the primary time through the pandemic.
Total revenues for the group elevated by 7.6% to £5.8bn for the 26 weeks to 4 July, it stated in its half-year outcomes.
Driven by an “exceptional performance” in meals and wholesale buying and selling, its revenue earlier than tax was additionally up 35% at £27m as compared with the identical interval final yr.
The group did, nonetheless, take a success of £54m in coronavirus-related prices, it stated. That was largely all the way down to further retailer employees being recruited and the acquisition of private protecting gear (PPE) for these working in outlets.
The chain stated it had recruited an additional 7,000 momentary employees to handle elevated demand from prospects.
Earlier in September, Co-op also announced that it will create a further 1,000 jobs and open 50 new shops earlier than the top of the yr, having paused on opening any new websites throughout lockdown.
On Thursday, it stated that it had paid out a complete of £13m in “Covid-19 ‘thank you’” bonuses to workers that had labored on the “front-line” of retailers through the pandemic.
Co-op additionally confirmed that it had obtained £33m in authorities assist in its first half, by means of furlough funds for a “limited number of colleagues” positioned on depart, in addition to enterprise charges reduction.
The group stated on Thursday that it now expects competitors to “intensify” within the grocery sector, however believes it stays “well-positioned”.
“The coming months and years remain uncertain, and we know our own Co-op will not be immune to the pressures the recession brings to family budgets and to local and national economies,” its chief government stated.