Grocery wholesaler Metcash posted a 36.5% rise in first-half profit, with chief executive Andrew Rietzer describing its grocery alliance business IGA as a “powerhouse” that is performing well against the competition.

“The trading environment is strong. However, low price inflation continues to hamper trading opportunities across all of our business pillars,” said Rietzer.

Meanwhile, Metcash has made an offer to buy 50.1% of hardware chain Mitre 10, which is owned by individuals under an umbrella alliance. If successful, it plans to take full control in 2012 or 2013 as part of a push into the Australian hardware market.