Leading Canadian supermarket operator Loblaw has reported an 8.2% rise in its second-quarter net profits.

Net income increased to C$197m (US$149m), or 71 cents a share, from C$182 million, or 65 cents, in the same period a year ago, the Toronto-based company said in a statement. Sales rose to C$6.1bn from C$5.8bn.

The Toronto-based company attributed the revenue rise to greater sales of household merchandise and more retail floor space. “Our non-food growth for the second quarter grew 16%, which is a very compelling number,” Loblaw president John Lederer said in a conference call.

Lederer said the chain has plans to speed up the opening of new stores in the second half of this year, which will provide a boost to sales. “Even in the last four weeks, we have opened three new stores with net footage of probably close to 250,000 square feet.”

The chain will steadily increase its portfolio of Real Canadian Super Stores, including one in Toronto next week, as part of its game plan to fend off growing competition from discount giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, reported Bloomberg.

“It’s a very large store that has very aggressive pricing, and has a very large and significant meaningful non-food offering,” Lederer said. “We feel that vehicle is very competitive with the deepest discounters.”