Finnish retailer Kesko has posted a rise in first-half profits thanks to growth in domestic grocery sales and a drive to keep costs down.

The company said today (18 July) that underlying group operating profit reached EUR156.6m (US$215.9m) during the first six months of the year. That compared to EUR126m a year ago.

Group turnover rose to EUR4.7bn, Kesko said, a rise of 9.6% on the year.

Kesko has retailing businesses across a number of sectors. Its food arm, Kesko Food, posted underlying operating profit of EUR70.5m, a jump of almost 20% on the year.

Sales rose almost 7% to EUR1.9bn. Kesko said that industry-wide grocery sales in Finland rose 4.5% between January and June.