February 8, 2017 / 7:44 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-ICA Q4 profit beats forecast, ICA Sweden Jan sales up 1.6 pct

2 Min Read

(Adds comments from CEO, details)

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Food retailer ICA Gruppen reported on Wednesday a slightly better than expected fourth-quarter core operating profit and said sales in its Swedish ICA stores increased in January.

* Q4 operating profit excluding non-recurring 1.18 bln SEK ($133 mln) vs year-ago 1.02 bln and Reuters poll fcast 1.16 bln

• January sales at Swedish ICA stores up 1.6 pct yr/yr to 8.82 bln SEK excluding VAT

* ICA CEO Per Stromberg to Reuters on ICA Sweden: "We are taking market share quite significantly in online sales"

* Group's biggest brand ICA Sweden Q4 online sales grew 47 pct yr/yr, 204 ICA stores had online sales at year-end

* Says for full year we grew our market share slightly, and we continue to show good growth for Rimi Baltic and Apotek Hjartat

* CEO to Reuters: focus for 2017 is to develop new products to meet growing demand for ready meals and new competition

* Says noted a significantly higher rate of price growth in December, which most likely will continue in early 2017

* Proposes a dividend of 10.50 SEK/share vs Reuters poll fcast 10.10 SEK, vs year-ago 10.00 SEK

* Says ICA Sweden plans to open 10 to 15 new stores in 2017 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 8.8754 Swedish crowns) (Reporting By Anna Ringstrom and Rebecka Roos)

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