Wumart Stores, the Chinese retailer, has posted a jump in profits for the first half of the year as its sales in the country's booming retail sector continued to thrive.

The company, which has 352 stores, booked underlying net profit of CNY191.7m (US$27.9m), a jump of 36.7%, with revenue climbing 23.6% to CNY4.6bn.

The rise in revenue came on the back of robust comparable-store sales growth of 13.9%, driven in part by rising food prices in China.

Retail sales in China surged by over 21% during the first six months of 2008, according to government figures.

Inflation, however, remains a problem. The consumer price index went up by 7.9% during the first six months of the year, although it eased slightly in June, down 0.6% from May.

Inflation is being driven by soaring producer prices and rising food prices. The price of food jumped 20.4% in China during the first half of this year, government figures showed.