Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third biggest grocer, increased its profit before tax by 36.3 per cent to £466 million in the first half, according to results published today.
Total sales, including fuel and VAT, rose seven per cent during the period whilst like-for-like sales grew by two per cent year-on-year.
During the 28 weeks to October 2nd the retailer re-launched its Taste the Difference brand, increased gross retail space by 540,000 sq ft and opened its first 100,000 sq ft store in Crayford, Bexley.
Justin King, CEO of Sainsbury’s, commented: “Sainsbury’s has continued to outperform, as we offer healthy, fresh and tasty food at great value and continue to grow our new space.
“Customer numbers are now at an all-time high of over 20 million transactions every week, which is up one million on last year, a clear indication of our growing universal customer appeal.
“We now have over 340 Convenience stores; online sales are growing by over 25 per cent and the Bank has delivered strong profit growth.”
Kantar Worldpanel data released yesterday showed that Sainsbury’s had increased its grocery market share by 0.3 per cent, the 21st consecutive month it has seen its share increase.
Growth in online trade increased 25 per cent during H1, with over 140 stores now offering a click and collect service.
Sainsbury’s convenience business is now worth around £1 billion and the retailer created over 2,000 new jobs through store investment during the half.
King added: “Colleagues have worked hard to deliver great service, resulting in higher customer satisfaction. Further productivity savings, tight control on operating costs, together with our strong sales performance have all helped to deliver good profit growth.
“As we enter the second half, we expect the economic environment to remain challenging. We remain confident that our universal customer appeal, combined with our strong space growth momentum, means we are in a good position to perform well in this environment.”
Basic earnings per share rose 33.6 per cent to 18.7 pence during the period, whilst the retailer has announced an interim dividend of 4.3 pence, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to 2009.
David Tyler, Chairman of Sainsbury’s, said: “We have made excellent progress towards delivering our strategic objectives, particularly in offering our customers great food at fair prices and growing our space.
“Our interim dividend is 4.3 pence per share, which is in line with our policy to pay this at 30 per cent of the previous year’s full-year dividend.”