DIY retailer Homebase has posted a 35% decline in operating profits to £29.9m for the half-year ended August 27, but parent Home Retail Group described the performance as “robust”.

The company said sales declined 1.8% to £839.6m, with like-for-like sales reducing by 0.6%.

“As we now enter our busiest trading period market conditions remain both weak and volatile, and in these early weeks of the second half we have not seen the improvement in sales that we had anticipated,” said Terry Duddy, chief executive of Home Retail Group.

Homebase’s store portfolio now totals 342. It said a small number of closures, relocations or downsizes will continue to be sought.

Internet sales now account for 4% of Homebase’s total sales.