Half-year profits at UK retailer Sainsbury’s have jumped by almost 38% thanks in part to property disposals but also to rising sales.

Net profit grew 37.7% to GBP347m (US$554.8m) over the first half to 2 October, Sainsbury’s said this morning (10 November).

Underlying profit before tax, excluding the impact of property disposals, was up 8.1% to GBP332m. as the company drove space growth and served record numbers of customers.

Chief executive Justin King said: “Customer numbers are now at an all-time high of over 20 million transactions every week, which is up one million on last year, a clear indication of our growing universal customer appeal.”

For the half, sales grew 7% to GBP11.9bn. Excluding VAT and fuel, sales were up 4.8%. Like-for-like sales, excluding VAT and fuel were up 2%.

Shares in Sainsbury’s were down 1.6% at 371.3p at 10:18 GMT this morning.

Click here for Sainsbury’s full earnings statement. Check back later for further insight into the retailers results.