UK grocer Morrisons has seen first-half profits almost double as a company revamp helped to boost margins and cut costs.

The UK's fourth-largest retailer by sales posted a 61% leap in operating profit to GBP263.9m (US$530m) for the six months to 29 July.

The jump in profits came as Morrisons brought in an "optimisation plan", a programme to boost sales and rebrand the business. Turnover, meanwhile, inched up 2.8% to GBP6bn.

Chief executive Marc Bolland said: "We have made a strong start to our objective of becoming the food specialist for everyone with a positive customer response to our rebranding and the many developments in store."

Like-for-like sales rose 2.7%; Morrisons said UK grocery sales had experienced a slowdown in recent weeks. Rising interest rates and a wet UK summer had seen the UK's largest retailers 0 including Morrisons - embark on a price war.

"While the trend of greater emphasis on the health, provenance, quality and freshness of food seen in 2006 continues, in a tighter economy this has inevitably been balanced somewhat by hard-hitting price led campaigns," Morrisons said. "We expect these to continue."