LONDON (FNS) -- Argyll plc, owner of Safeway, reported a 4.1% increase in after-tax profit to $230.38 million (149.6 million pounds) on a 1.1% rise in sales to $5.24 billion (3.4 billion pounds) for the half-year ended Oct. 14.
ce) from 19.7 cents (12.8 pence). Currency conversions were made at the rate of $1.54 per pound.
The growth came entirely in Safeway, the U.K.'s third-largest food retailer. The chain reported a 9% increase in operating profit to $312.62 million (203 million pounds) from $286.75 million (186.2 million pounds). Sales rose 13.1% to $4.85 billion (3.15 billion pounds) from $4.28 billion (2.78 billion pounds).
Sir Alistair Grant, the group's chairman, said the improvements at Safeway came in both same-store sales and through store openings. Same-store sales rose 7.8% in the period, including inflation of 3.1% and volume growth of 4.7%. Adjusting for closures, new stores contributed volume growth of 7.3%. Safeway opened 10 stores during the period.