Sainsbury’s has reported a 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales in its first half interim results, including healthy sales growth in its Local convenience stores.

The supermarket chain posted total sales of £16.3bn in the 28 weeks to the 23 September, but profits fell by 9% to £251m, primarily reflecting the consolidation of Argos and Habitat, price cutting and rising wage costs.

Sainsbury’s convenience stores saw an 8.2% increase in sales, while online sales rose by 7.2%.

In the past six months, the company opened 73 Argos concessions in its stores, bringing the total to 112. It plans to open a further 53 by Christmas 2017.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “We have delivered a good performance across the group in the last six months, with more customers choosing to shop at Sainsbury’s in the first half than ever before. We are now three years into delivering our differentiated strategy and are seeing clear results.”

Kantar Retail vice president Ray Gaul said the group had delivered “a wide range of innovation in grocery shopping” over the six months.

“In a tightly contested market, J. Sainsbury plc is working hard in 2017/18 to earn the title of most creative mass market retailer of the year,” he noted.

”These include partnerships with restaurants and speciality food businesses like Patisserie Valerie, investments in rapid delivery through the Chop Chop and Argos Fast Track services, and store refits to include omnichannel solutions from Argos and Habitat. Additionally, the group has made progress on creating a ‘scan & go’ mobile app that allows shoppers to bypass queues and bagging areas all together.”