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BRUSSELS, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Belgian supermarket group Colruyt on Tuesday reported a higher-than-expected net profit for its first half year as it was able to increase prices and expanded its market share in market share in Belgium.
The group, which competes with Ahold Delhaize and Carrefour as well as German discounters Aldi and Lidl, said that while competition remained high, it was less fierce than in previous years, allowing it to pass on higher prices.
Colruyt's market share in its Belgian home market grew by 0.19 percentage points to 31.8 percent in the first half.
Net profit rose 5.5 percent in the first half of its financial year until March 31 to 192.5 million euros ($204.78 million), above the 188 million euros expected on average in a Reuters poll of four analysts.
The group repeated it expected its net profit in the current financial year to match or slightly exceed last year's of 366.3 million euros.
"We expect the market to remain competitive during the 2016/17 financial year. We do not anticipate a significant upturn in the economic climate nor in the consumer confidence in Belgium and France in the short term," it said. ($1 = 0.9400 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)