French retailer E.Leclerc has claimed its share of the country's retail sector climbed again in 2011 after the company's sales increased by over 5%.

E.Leclerc reported a 5.5% rise in annual sales, excluding fuel, to EUR30bn for 2011. Total turnover, including revenue from fuel sales, was up 8.7% at EUR37.8bn.

Citing data from Kantar Worldpanel, the retailer said its leadership of the French market was "confirmed" with a 0.6 percentage point increase in its market share to 18%. E.Leclerc said its market share had increased for 55 consecutive months.

It said its policy of "permanent low prices" was central to its "success". It claimed data from Nielsen showed its prices were 4.2 percentage points lower than its nearest competitor.

Looking to 2012, E.Leclerc said its expected revenue to increase 4% and forecast another rise in market share to 18.5%.