Boparan Holdings, the company behind 2 Sisters Food Group, has reported a rise in underlying sales and improved profitability for its second quarter.

The Fox’s biscuits owner booked sales of £792m for the 13 weeks to 30 January, down 0.6% on the corresponding period a year earlier.

But the group did report an increase in like-for-like (LFL) sales, which were up 0.4% to £800.1m. This came as good news, as there was a 2.3% fall in LFL sales in the first quarter of the same financial year.

Boparan said its branded division, which includes Fox’s and Holland’s pies, saw LFL sales rise 4% in the quarter. The group’s chilled business saw its LFL sales grow 0.8%.

The business posted operating profit of £22.1m for the quarter, compared to an operating loss of £4.3m a year ago. Boparan added that its operating profit was calculated before exceptional items, and included profits or losses on the group’s share of joint ventures.

Profit after exceptional items, before interest and tax was £20.3m, which compared to a loss of £7.6m a year earlier.

Retained profit after exceptional items, interest and tax stood at £3.1m, against £16.7m in the second quarter of the previous financial year.