A Lichfield-based business has said it remains confident it can continue to thrive after posting strong financial results for the first half of 2018. Central England Co-operative saw sales grow by 3.6% to £476.9million, while trading profit climbed by £1million to £12.9million. The company’s chief executive Martyn Cheatle said the opening of six new food stores, a new funeral home and booking offices, along with the renovation of more than 30 of its sites had helped keep the business moving forward. “We have had an encouraging first half of the year, reflecting the hard work of our colleagues and continued focus across the Society in providing great service and products to our members and customers,” he said. “Our performance so far in 2018 has again demonstrated the Society’s resilience as a strong and successful independent co-operative business. “However, our resilience continues to be tested by tough trading conditions which we expect to remain challenging and highly competitive for the foreseeable future. “We remain confident in our strategy and our co-operative point of difference to deliver sustainable business growth and provide a relevant and attractive proposition to our members, customers and local communities.” The company says it is intending to continue its refurbishment programme as well as introducing growth in its travel business by taking on six sites previously operated by Thomas Cook.