French supermarket group Casino has posted a 12% rise in first-half net profit, helped by sales at its urban French outlets.

The company reported net profit of €199m (US$215.8m) for the first half, compared to €177.5m a year earlier. Operating profit was €442.9m, compared to €401.5m a year earlier. Analysts had forecast net profit of €196.2m and operating profit of €444.7m.

Casino, which operates stores under the Geant, Leaderprice, Franprix and Monoprix banners, said its sales slid 0.2% to €11.01bn.

The company backed its target of full-year sales growth of more than 6%.

Casino attributed the growth in first-half operating profit mainly to a good performance in its domestic operations, which account for 96% of operating income. Its discount stores, such as the Leaderprice chain, and convenience stores performed particularly well, reported Reuters.