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UK-based co-operative group Co-op has reported an underlying operating profit of £43m ($52.88m) in the first half (H1) of fiscal year (FY) 2023.

The retailer attributed the significant improvement to the annualisation of £101m cost savings it achieved in 2022 and further cost savings in H1 2023.

The company’s underlying loss before tax was £9m in H1 FY23, £59m less than H1 2022.

Its underlying earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was £226m in the first half, up from £199m in the prior year’s period.

During the period, Co-op’s revenue stood at £5.4bn, down by £0.2bn from the same period in FY22.

The performance was driven by lower revenue in the food retail business.

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The company’s net debt decreased to £123m, a substantial reduction of £608m on H1 2022.

Co-op chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq said: “I am very proud of our success over the last six months, particularly given the prevailing economic and market conditions. This performance wouldn’t have been possible had we not taken the decisions we did, as early as we did in 2022 when it came to better management of our members’ money and running the business more efficiently.

“While the economic environment remains challenging, we have again improved our underlying financial strength, significantly grown our membership base and delivered more for our members and their communities.

“We have done this while staying true to our Rochdale Principles, cooperating through partnerships and campaigning on topics which matter to our members most. We have invested heavily in supporting our members, communities, colleagues and customers through the cost-of-living crisis and we will continue to do so.”