PROFITS at the East of England Co-op have risen by more than a third in its 150th year.

The business, which has more than 230 outlets across the region, reported increases across their food, funeral and property sectors.

Alongside underlying trading profit which is up 33.2 per cent, from £4.2million to £5.6million, Members’ Funds have also increased by £12.1million to £224.6million.

It said the food side of the business saw a 2.2 per cent increase in sales, with East of England Co-op stores benefitting from the ‘Beast from the East’ last March and a long hot summer, "as well as reaping the rewards of their store refurbishment programme and investment in technology."

The Co-op said following the expansion of its funeral services business in 2017/18, market share is growing, despite a fall in the UK death rate.

The property investment business has also continued to see success, with rental income nearing £8million per year from more than 450 properties, including new housing developments in Ipswich.

Doug Field, joint chief executive, said: "We will continue to run our Co-op as it should be run; working for our communities, customers and colleagues.

"With a strengthened estate, dedicated colleagues and healthy balance sheet, we have much to look forward to in the coming year and beyond."