Chilean retailer Cencosud has seen full-year profits tumble 30% due to one-off items that boosted the company's bottom line in 2007.

Cencosud, which has stores in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia, said on Friday (6 February) that net income reached CHP160.13bn (US$263.8m) in 2008, down from CHP228.82bn a year earlier.

The company said that a gain from the sale of a stake in Mall Plaza helped push up profits in 2007. Excluding such one-off items, net income inched up 0.5%.

Operating profit rose 21% in 2008 to CHP312.1m as higher revenues in Argentina boosted Cencosud's earnings in the country.

Cencosud saw its profits in Argentina rise by more than a quarter on the back of a 51.2% increase in sales. The retailer's group sales jumped almost 49% to CHP6.13 trillion.

Chile accounts for some 43% of Cencosud's revenues, while Argentina makes up 35.1%. Brazil and Peru make up 11.2% and 10% of sales respectively, while Colombia remains a minor market.

Cencosud faces stiff competition in its own backyard with Wal-Mart buying a majority stake in its nearest rival, D&S, last month.