UK retailer Waitrose has today (13 September) recorded an increase in first-half profits boosted, it said, by sales, increased efficiency and investment in convenience and online.

In the six months ended 28 July, operating profit climbed 28.9% to GBP142m (US$228.9m). A number of “strategic investments” made over the last few years, including convenience, and in the Channel Islands, contributed to the growth, its owner The John Lewis Partnership said.

“The positive impact of these, along with increased efficiency and the benefits of growth, are seen in this profit performance which in turn provides a platform for further increases in investment in the second half,” it added.

Gross sales grew 6.6% to GBP2.8bn underpinned by like-for-like sales growth of 2.2% and new branch openings.

“The investment made in continues to bear fruit with online sales growing by 50%,” John Lewis said. “During the first half of the year, continued to be the fastest growing major UK online grocery retailer, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.”

Waitrose opened four new supermarkets and six Little Waitrose convenience branches in the period, bringing the total store number to 282 shops, including 34 convenience shops, at the end of July.

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