MOSCOW, April 21 (Reuters) - Russia’s second-biggest food retailer by revenue, Magnit, said on Friday its first-quarter net profit dropped and sales growth tumbled, highlighting a widening gap in its performance relative to market leader X5 Retail Group.
* Net profit amounted to 7.5 billion roubles ($133 million)in January-March, down from 8.2 billion roubles in the first quarter of 2016, Magnit said in a statement.
* Net sales grew 4.6 percent to 267 billion roubles, as it opened 250 stores, increasing its selling space by 13.8 percent.
* Net retail sales rose 3.98 percent to 264.6 billion roubles, which is around 10 percent less than the first-quarter result of X5 Retail Group.
* X5 overtook Magnit as the leading Russian retailer in the fourth quarter of 2016, when it was 3 percent above Magnit in terms of sales.
* Magnit said the increased selling space was largely offset by a 4.8-percent year-on-year decline in like-for-like sales.
* Like-for-like traffic was down 4.6 percent and like-for-like average ticket was down 0.1 percent year on year, due to competitive pressures and low inflation.
* Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 6.1 percent to 21 billion roubles.
* EBITDA margin increased to 7.86 percent from 7.75 percent in Q1 2016.
* The company has said earlier it would not sacrifice profit margins for sales as it forecast full-year 2017 sales growth in a 9-13 percent range.
* Shares in Magnit fell 1.2 percent in early trade in Moscow to 9,002 roubles. Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 56.2688 roubles) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; editing by Alexander Smith)