Morrisons, which trails Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda and J Sainsbury by annual sales, said today it made an underlying profit of £445m in the six months to 29 July.
That compared with analysts' forecasts in a range of £416-450m, with an average forecast of £434m, according to a poll, and was up one per cent on the £442m it made in the same period last year.
The 455-strong Morrisons, based in Bradford, said sales at stores open at least a year, excluding petrol and VAT sales tax, fell 0.9 per cent.
That was slightly better than a fall of one per cent in the first quarter and compared to analysts' average forecast of a fall of 0.8 per cent.
Total first-half sales increased 2.3 per cent to 8.9 billion pounds.