Australian retailer Woolworths has reported lower-than-expected first-half sales growth, but raised its full-year earnings guidance slightly.

The company reported a 6.4% rise in sales to A$15.1bn (US$11.5bn) for the 28 weeks to 11 January, compared to $14.1bn a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting sales growth of between 7.0% and 7.5%, reported Reuters.

Second-quarter sales rose 6.1% to $7.9bn, while comparable-store food and liquor sales rose 3.8% for the quarter, beating forecasts of around 3.5%.

“We are quietly confident that we have produced a good strong steady sales result, in spite of some significant market competition and changes,” CEO Roger Corbett was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Corbett added that good comparable food and liquor sales results and cost cutting measures had led the company to increase its full-year earnings guidance to a range of 65 to 67 cents per share before goodwill, compared to an earlier forecast of 64 to 67 cents per share.