McBride has reported a solid increase in underlying sales for the second half of 2011, boosted by a higher share of the UK private label market.

The maker of own brand household and personal care products reported a 2% sales increase in constant currency terms to £423.1m for the six months to 31 December. The growth was bolstered by an increase in UK market share of three percentage points to 31.4% over the full calendar year.

However, underlying operating profits tumbled by 49% to £10.3m due to sharp increases in raw material costs.

Despite the fall, analysts were upbeat about the results. “Profits were slightly better than expected,” said Peel Hunt analyst Charles Hall. “McBride is steadily coming through a tough period and management is taking action to streamline the business and reduce costs.”

McBride said trading since the end of December had been in line with expectations and that it expected “continued progress” for the remainder of the year.