UK supermarket company J Sainsbury has reported an 11% rise in full-year pre-tax profits.

 The company said profit before tax, exceptional costs and amortisation of goodwill was £695m (US$1.14bn) for the year to 29 March 2003, compared to £627m in the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £667m, up 16.8% from the previous year's £571m.

"We have made sound progress and continued to deliver on our promises during the past year despite increasingly tougher market conditions. We are reporting a second consecutive year of double-digit growth in underlying group profit before tax at 10.8% and an increase in underlying operating profit growth for Sainsbury's Supermarkets of 13.3%. In the US, Shaw's has had an excellent year despite difficult economic conditions, achieving a 9.7% increase in underlying operating profit," Sir Peter Davis, group chief executive, said. 

"In the UK we have made significant achievements in modernising our business through our transformation programme and continued to deliver an improved sales performance despite more normal market growth following the previous year's buoyant conditions," he added.

The group said total sales at its Sainsbury's supermarket chain were £15.3bn, a rise of 3.0%, while like-for-like sales including petrol rose 2.3%.

Total sales at the group's US Shaw's supermarket chain rose 1.2% to £4.4bn, while like-for-like sales rose 0.9%.