Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has reported that its profit before tax dropped by 27% to £275m ($335.20m) in the first half (H1) of fiscal 2023/24 (FY23/24), compared with £376m ($458.31m) in H1 FY22/23.

The retailer’s profit after tax also declined 46% to £155m ($188.93m) during the period.

In the 28 weeks to 16 September 2023, Sainsbury’s posted group revenue of £16.98bn ($20.69bn), up 3.5% from £16.40bn ($19.99bn) in the same period a year previously.

Sales in the retailer’s grocery and general merchandise segments increased 10.1% and 1.1% respectively in H1 FY23/24, while clothing sales dropped 8.4%.

Like-for-like retail sales excluding fuel grew 8.4% in H1 FY23/24, and retail operating profit also increased by 2% to £485m ($591.17m) over the period.

Its basic earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 46% to 6.6p during the period, from 12.3p in the same period of the previous year.

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By GlobalData

Sainsbury’s net debt including leases dropped by £701m ($854.46m) to £5.64bn ($6.87bn) during the period.

J Sainsbury chief executive Simon Roberts stated: “Food is firmly back at the heart of Sainsbury’s. We’ve never been more competitive on price and our focus on value, innovation and service is giving more customers more reasons to shop with us.

“We know people are still finding things tough and we’re working harder than ever to reduce our costs, putting the money back into our customers’ pockets through lower prices on the products they buy most often. I’m pleased to say food inflation is coming down and we are passing savings on to customers.

“As we head into this key trading period, we are encouraged by our strong momentum, and we remain fully focused on delivering for customers and shareholders.”

For the full year 2023 to 2024, Sainsbury’s expects an underlying profit before tax between £670m ($827.64m) and £700m ($853.24m).