LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second biggest supermarket group that has agreed to take over smaller rival Asda, beat forecasts with a 20 percent increase in first half profit, with little growth in the core grocery business bolstered by cost savings.
The group said on Thursday it made an underlying pretax profit of 302 million pounds ($396.4 million) in the 28 weeks to Sept. 22 - ahead of analysts’ average forecast of 280 million pounds and 251 million pounds made in the same period last year.
Sainsbury’s said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, increased 0.6 percent, while cost savings were 121 million pounds.
The group said although the consumer outlook is uncertain it is on track to meet analysts’ consensus full year profit forecast of 634 million pounds. ($1 = 0.7619 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Costas Pitas)