Major retail group GUS on Wednesday posted a sharp rise in first half sales and said it expects interim profits to beat current market expectations.

The company said sales across all of its businesses were strong in the six months to September 30, with same-store sales at catalogue shopping chain Argos up seven per cent and margins ahead of last year.

"GUS has completed a successful first half, with good momentum in all of our businesses," said chief executive John Peace. "We therefore expect interim profits to be ahead of market expectations."

"Despite challenging conditions in some of our markets, we look forward with confidence to the second half of the year and beyond."

The company will report its interim profits on November 20.