By Jonathan Davies

The Co-operative Group has returned to profit for the first time since it almost collapsed in 2013.

The Group reported a profit of £124 million for 2014, compared with a £255m loss in 2013.

Its food and funeral businesses grew "robustly" but its insurance arm made a loss.

The Co-op Group is currently on a three-year turnaround plan after its bank discovered a £1.5bn black hole in its finances in 2013. That sent the group as a whole into huge difficulty and was forced to sell it off. Over the past year, the Co-op Group has sold pharmacies and farms, raising £216m.

Without the sales, chief executive Richard Pennycock said the company would've "at best, broken even".

The Co-op Group is the UK's fifth largest supermarket, with a market share of 6%. And Group chair Allan Leighton told the BBC: "We can compete on more than price. We're not a discounter, we're very focused on the convenience sector and we're doing pretty well in this area.

"We're about fresh food and availability and we have fabulous staff in our stores that provide a service no-one else can."