West Midlands Co-op has announced record profits of more than £6 million as it prepares to merge with Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op later this month.

The Walsall-based Society has revealed that sales for its final trading year would be in excess of £210 million, a 19 per cent increase on the previous year.

This will produce a profit increase of five per cent to £6,050,000.

From September 24 the two societies will merge to create the Midcounties Co-operative, a business with a turnover in excess of £500 million.

Ben Reid, chief executive of West Midlands Co-op, said: "This reflects the hard work of all the society staff and underlines the fact that the merger with Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op is from a position of strength. Over the years many people have contributed to the resurgence of the West Midlands Society and we are determined to continue and build on their efforts to ensure that the Cooperative model of trading goes from strength to strength in the new Midcounties Society."

The Midcounties Cooperative will run 350 stores across a range of business including food retail, travel agents, pharmacies, motor sales, childcare nurseries, care homes and funeral homes.

Meanwhile Co-operative Financial Services reported a 25 per cent increase in profits helped by strong performance from its banking and insurance divisions.

The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance Society together made combined operating profits, before significant items, of £85.8 million, which is £17.4 million up on the combined interim profits for 2004.

There are five Co-op Bank branches in the Midlands, as well as three general insurance claims areas.