Shares in Delhaize Group jumped today (8 August) after the Belgium-based retailer lifted its forecast for annual underlying operating profit.

The Food Lion and Hannaford chain also reported second-quarter earnings that beat expectations, driving a jump in half-year profits.

In the first half of 2012, Delhaize saw half-year earnings fall amid costs linked to restructuring the business and investment in prices at Food Lion.

For 2013, Delhaize expects underlying operating profit to reach at least EUR780m (US$1.04bn), including US chains Sweetbay’s, Harveys and Reid’s, which the company agreed to sell in May. Its previous forecast was EUR775m. Excluding the disposals, Delhaize sees underlying operating profit hitting EUR755m, better than previously forecast.

Second-quarter net profit was EUR104m, up from EUR87m a year ago, as Delhaize benefited from lower interest costs and a lighter tax bill. Operating profit was up 1.7% at EUR176m.

Quarterly revenues increased 1.7% at identical exchanges rates. In the US, Delhaize’s biggest market, comparable-store sales were up 1.1%; in Belgium, they were 0.8% higher. However, both figures represented slower sales than in the first quarter.

Shares in Delhaize were up 7.92% at EUR52.18 at 15:36 CET.

Click here for the full statement from Delhaize.