Saudi food-to-retail group Savola said first-half profit gains have been driven by an "outstanding" performance from its retail business.

In an announcement to the Saudi stock exchange, Savola said first-half net profit increased by 37.12% to SAR936.5m (US$249.7m).

"The increase in the group net income for the period ended June 2014 compared to the same period last year is attributed mainly to the continued growth in revenues, which reached SAR14.12bn for this period compared to SAR13.91bn for the same period last year," the company said.

Sales growth was attributed to an "outstanding" performance in the retail sector. The company also benefited from lower financial costs and higher dividend payments from "associate" companies.

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