The Co-operative Legal Services has seen its revenues increase by 22% and its profits rise by 3% during the first half of the year, the group’s interim financial results have revealed.

The results were posted against a background that saw The Co-operative Group’s overall sales fall slightly to £6.89bn from £6.96bn.

Within this, Co-operative Financial Services saw gross revenues rise 6.4% to £1.33bn, while its food business produced sales of £3.7bn, down 4.6%.

The Co-operative Legal Services was established five years ago with a view to creating 150 jobs, the group said. It has so far grown to employ over 400 employees.

The financial statement said: ‘The business is actively preparing for the forthcoming de-regulated legal market place and will be submitting an application to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to become one of the first alternative business structures to be licensed.

‘This will allow the business to provide a full suite of consumer legal services with the aim of becoming the consumer’s lawyer of choice.’

Among the operational highlights listed for the half-year was the piloting of legal services into its bank branches.

Commenting on the group’s overall financial results, its chief executive Peter Marks said trading conditions had been the worst he had seen in over 40 years of retailing.

‘Against this backdrop, the results we are announcing today are in line with our expectations,’ said Marks.

He said: ‘It is a mixed picture, but one that shows the strengths of having a diversified portfolio of great businesses.’

Marks added: ‘Looking ahead, we do not see signs of any real improvement in the economy and we are planning accordingly to help our customers as much as possible through this difficult period.'