HONG KONG, March 4 (Reuters) - Hypermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group Ltd posted a 8.6 percent rise in 2017 net profit on Sunday as steady demand from lower-tier cities helped offset pressure from rapidly growing e-commerce.
The retailer, backed by China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, posted a net profit of 2.79 billion yuan ($440 million) for the 12 months ended December, up from 2.57 billion yuan in 2016.
That compared with an average forecast of 2.77 billion yuan from 15 analysts polled by Reuters.
Sun Art, which competes with China Resources and Wal-Mart Stores Inc in China, said its 2017 turnover rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 102.32 billion yuan. Gross profit margin increased 0.2 percentage points to 24.1 percent. ($1 = 6.3428 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Donny Kwok Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Alexander Smith)