Sainsbury's chairman Sir Philip Hampton said the company's new property joint venture with Land Securities would not be the last of its kind.

As Sainsbury's unveiled half-year pre-tax profit up 27% to £232m on sales nearly 5% higher at £9.9bn, Hampton said the move to spin off three properties worth £113.4m for future mixed-use development was not exclusive to Land Securities and that further joint ventures would be considered.

But he also insisted that owning its own stores remained a core part of the supermarket's strategy.

Iranian property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz, who owns 10% of Sainsbury's shares, would continue to push for bigger returns from the property portfolio, said City analysts.

Tchenguiz is sitting on a £300m loss compared with the 600p per share he would have made had the buyout by private equity fund Delta Two not collapsed two weeks ago.

"Sainsbury's is doing the right thing by opting to sensibly manage its own property portfolio," said one retail analyst.

"But Tchenguiz is in there to make money now. He paid well over £5 for his equity and wants to see quicker returns."