Woolworths Ltd has claimed its domestic supermarket business has improved sales, profits and market share, even as Australia's largest retailer reported lower half-year group earnings.

The company said it had generated "solid" growth in sales and EBIT from its Australian supermarket division in the 27 weeks to 1 January.

However, company-wide first-half profits were down due to its decision to revamp and sell its consumer electronics business.

Woolworths, which has seen Coles outpace it in terms of sales growth in recent months, also insisted it had seen customer transactions at its Australian supermarkets increase during the first half of its financial year. Its market share also rose, it said.

EBIT from Woolworths' Australian supermarket unit increased 6.3% to A$1.56bn (US$1.68bn). Sales grew 5.9% to A$23.01bn. Comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, increased 1.5%.

In New Zealand, Woolworths' local business made EBIT of NZ$149.1m, up 11% on the year. Sales increased 3% to NZ$2.88bn. Comparable-store sales were up 4.5%.

However, Woolworths' net profit fell 16.8% to A$966.9m as its consumer electronics unit was made a discontinued operation. The retailer also booked a A$300m restructuring provision against the division.

Net profit from continuing operations was up 3.2% at A$1.18bn. Sales from continuing operations increased 5.2%.

Shares in Woolworths closed down 0.04% at A$25.30.

Click here for the full earnings statement from Woolworths.