US food group Seneca Foods posted an increase in half-yearly profit today (6 November), boosted by the performance of its retail store brands business.

For the six months ended 26 September, net earnings increased to US$23.5m from $2.3m in the prior year.

Net sales for the period increased 4.1% to reach $553.7m. The increase was attributable to increased selling prices/improved sales mix of $45.8m partially offset by a sales volume reduction of $24.2m.

Pre-tax results for half-year included a $0.3m gain on the sale of unused equipment.

"We continue to be pleased with the strong earnings performance of the company in the second quarter," said Kraig Kayser, president and CEO.

"Our retail store brands business remains one of the key drivers in earnings growth as consumers stretch their food budgets through the purchase of our products. Nevertheless, sales of store brand canned fruits and vegetables show signs of slowing as the leading brands are becoming more aggressive in their promotional activities."