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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 07:57 GMT
Sainsbury's enjoys jump in profit
Sainsbury's store
Sainsbury's is the UK's third-largest supermarket chain
Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has reported what it describes as "strong" half-year results, with profits up 20%.

Pre-tax profit hit 232m ($483m) in the 28 weeks to 6 October, compared with 194m in the same period a year ago.

Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, were up 4% excluding fuel, while total sales rose 4.7% to 9,998m.

Last week, a Qatari-backed investment fund, Delta Two, abandoned its takeover bid for the supermarket chain.

Spending constraints

"These results demonstrate our continued ability to grow the business. Sales growth has remained ahead of the market," Sainsbury's said.

Chief executive Justin King added that while there were tighter constraints on current consumer spending, Sainsbury's had a strong Christmas offering.

Delta Two, which approached Sainsbury's with a takeover offer in July, withdrew the bid because of turmoil in global credit markets and also because of concerns over the funding of Sainsbury's employee pension scheme.

A previous takeover bid, backed by private equity firms including Blackstone and CVC Partners, collapsed earlier this year.

Justin King has been credited with turning Sainsbury's around since taking the top job in 2004, but the retailer still trails Tesco and Asda in terms of market share in the UK grocery market.

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