Retailer Axfood has announced a fall in sales and profit for the six months to 30 June 2005 amid what it said was fierce competition in the Swedish retail food market.

Net sales for the six months were 16.108bn kronor (US$2.08bn), compared with 16.846bn kronor in the same period last year. Profit after tax fell to 349m kronor, from 356m a year ago.

"Competition in the Swedish retail food market is fierce, with continued pressure on prices," said CEO Mats Jansson. "Swedish consumers have more store formats and types of store to choose from than ever before."

Our strategy in this market situation is to continue to uphold earnings and at the same time grow through aggressive store acquisitions," he said. "We are working intensively on fine tuning Axfood's various store concepts in the aim of further strengthening our customer offerings and thereby increasing our competitiveness."