US grocery chain Publix posted US$712.7m net profit for the first half, up 14.5% on the $622.3m on the previous year.

The Florida-based chain saw sales for the half reach $12.7bn, up 2.7% on the $12.4bn posted last year. Comparable-store sales increased 1.6%.

Net profit for the second quarter was $348.4m up 15.8% on the same quarter last year, while sales reached $6.2bn, a 3.4% increase on the $6bn it posted for the same period last year. Comparable-store sales grew 2.4%

The employee-owned grocer saw its stock price decrease from $18.5 to $18.45 a share. As the company is not publicly listed, its stock price is determined by its board each quarter.

"I'm proud that our Publix associates delivered strong operating results," said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. "Unfortunately, these results were not enough to offset the continuing challenges in the stock market."