UK retailer Sainsbury's today (12 November) posted a rise in its half-year profits despite the "challenging" economic conditions.

Net profit for the six months to 4 October rose 5.6% year-on-year to GBP170m (US$262m).

Pre-tax profits rose to GBP272m, up 13.3% on the same period last year, and underlying operating profit increased 16.9% to GBP311m ($266m), reflecting a positive sales performance.

Sainsbury's posted a 7.6% increase in total sales, which rose to GBP10.8bn, and recorded a 3.9% increase in like-for-like sales.

Justin King, chief executive, said: "Our universal customer appeal has been fundamental to our sustained performance and we have continued to invest in both product quality and competitive pricing. Sainsbury's is catering for, and appealing to, the full range of customer needs and budgets."

However, supermarket group warned that it expected the second half of the year to remain "particularly challenging".