Pre-tax profits for the 25 weeks to July 23 were£134.2 million compared with£82.1 million last year. Like-for-like sales, stripping out fuel, rose 4.6 per cent over the period.
Chairman Sir Ken Morrison said: 'Our business is growing again and we are well on track with our targeted profit improvements.'
The group said that turnover was flat at£5.85 billion, but said that this was 'satisfactory' given that 66 stores were sold during the period. In the eight weeks since July 23, the group reported 'good' trading with like-for-like sales up 6.5 per cent excluding fuel.
Customer numbers rose by 5.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Converted stores displayed a 'particularly strong performance' in enticing new customers.
Morrisons intends to save 6 million labour hours this year without the need to implement a redundancy programme. The grocer is on target to save£30 million on distribution and£30 million on central costs this year.
Marc Bolland joined three weeks ago as chief executive, replacing Bob Stott who will retire on September 30.