Kepler Cheuvreux said Q4 margins at Jeronimo Martins Polish business were "weaker than expected"

Kepler Cheuvreux said Q4 margins at Jeronimo Martins' Polish business were "weaker than expected"

Shares in Jeronimo Martins have come under pressure after the Portugal-based retailer announced its outlook for 2014.

Jeronimo Martins said it expects its sales to grow this year "at least in line" with the rate it saw in 2013.

Last year, the owner of Portuguese chain Pingo Doce and Polish retailer Biedronka, generated sales of EUR11.8bn (US$16.12bn), up 10.7% on 2012.

The retailer also forecast its 2014 EBITDA was "expected to grow in line with sales". However, it added: "In the light of the risk of food deflation and the market competitiveness we cannot rule out group EBITDA margin being slightly below the previous year."

Jeronimo Martins issued the outlook on Tuesday (25 February) as it published its results for 2013. On Wednesday, shares in the retailer fell 6.46%. In early trading today, Jeronimo Martins' stock was down a further 1.07% at EUR12.04.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Inigo Egusquiza described Jeronimo Martins' outlook as "weak".

Egusquiza said the sales forecast was below Jeronimo Martins' long-term guidance for a 12-15% CAGR between 2013 and 2016.

The analyst cut an estimate for the retailer's EBITDA on the back of "weaker-than-expected" fourth-quarter margins on Poland, Jeronimo Martins' largest market.

In 2013, the retailer booked a 6% increase in net profit to EUR382m. EBITDA was up 5.1% at EUR777m.