Supermarket group Somerfield has seen its profits more than double.
Somerfield's revamped stores are winning new customers
Reporting its first half results for the six months to 8 November 2003, it saw its pre-tax profit rocket to £15.5m from the £6.4m seen a year earlier.
Sales at its main Somerfield stores were up 2.2%, while those at its Kwik Save outlets increased by 1%.
These figures have continued to grow into the second half of its financial year as it continues with its store renewal programme, Somerfield said.
The company's first half profit figure, which exceeding market expectations, was also achieved despite the cost of integrating a new distribution centre in the north west of England.
"The investment programme is renewing our stores and we continue to develop our customer offer," said Somerfield executive chairman John van Spreckelsen.
He added: "While both estates still require significant investment, particularly Kwik Save, I am pleased to report that operating profit has more than doubled in the period."
For the first 10 weeks of the second half of its financial year the company has seen sales increase by 2.3% at Somerfield stores, 0.4% at Kwik Save, and by 1.5% across the group as a whole.
Bristol-based Somerfield, the UK's sixth largest supermarket chain, bought Kwik Save in 1998.
Last year it rejected a £594m takeover bid from retail entrepreneurs John Lovering and Bob Mackenzie.