Portugal-based retailer Jeronimo Martins has set a target of opening 150 stores in Colombia by the end of 2015 as it looks to become one of the largest three retailers in the South American country.

Jeronimo Martins, which plans to open its first store in Colombia next year, said it will spend EUR400m (US$520m) in the next three years on its business in the market.

The retailer is set to open a group of up to 40 stores in Colombia in 2013, where it sees GDP increasing at around 4.5% a year between 2012 and 2015.

The investment for Colombia was announced as Jeronimo Martins set out its spending plans and sales forecasts for the next three years.

Jeronimo Martins said it would spend around EUR2.5bn on its business, with 70% of the investment on its Polish chain Biedronka. Poland accounts for more than half of Jeronimo Martins sales and EBITDA and the retailer wants to open a net 900 new stores between now and the end of 2015.

It predicted sales would increase at a "double-digit" rate in the three-year period at constant exchange rates. The retailer believes it will see EBITDA grow "at least in line with sales" and predicted "solid" growth in net earnings despite the investment in Colombia. Jeronimo Martins said losses from its Colombian business would be below 5% of its EBITDA in the first three years of investment.