Woolworths Ltd, Australia’s largest retailer, today (25 February) booked a 6% rise in half-year profits, hitting the top end of a forecast it lowered last month.

The company posted net profit after tax of A$1.16bn (US$1.17bn) for the 27 weeks to 2 January.

Last month, Woolworths cut its profit growth target for the first half of its financial year from 8-11% to 5-6%, citing lower consumer spending and the poor weather seen in Australia in recent months.

The retailer’s EBIT was up 6.2% to A$1.79bn, while its earnings per share were up 6.9% to A$0.95.

Woolworths sales for the first six months of its fiscal year were up 4% at A$28.3bn. Excluding petrol, sales rose 3.8%. The retailer’s sales slowed during the second quarter of the year as its sales excluding fuel had risen 4.2% in the first quarter.

Nevertheless, MD and CEO Michael Luscombe said Woolworths’ results were “sound”.

“Woolworths Limited today reported an increase in earnings per share of 6.9% and net profit after tax of 6%. This is a sound result delivered in a period of challenging conditions across the retail sector in both Australia and New Zealand,” Luscombe said.

Shares in Woolworths closed up 1.6% at A$26.85 today.

Click here for the full statement from Woolworths.