Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins posted a 3.5% drop in fourth-quarter net profit today (6 March), hurt by a rise in costs.

Net income for the period dropped to EUR41.8m from EUR43.3m a year earlier.

Net sales increased 28.9% to reach EUR6.89bn from EUR5.35bn.

EBITDA rose 29% to reach EUR141m, the company said in its trading update.

For the full-year period, the company's net profit increased 24% to EUR163.2m, while EBITDA rose nearly 35% to reach EUR473m.

"The company delivered twelve months of strong sales growth, leveraged in the quality of the formats and in the execution of four major projects which marked the year - the integration of the Plus stores in Portugal and in Poland, the conversion of the compact stores into Pingo Doce and the execution of the group's organic growth programme," the company said.

"The growing dimension of the group's retail chains, as well as an increased concentration in the food retail area, took the group's operations to a new level of scale of operation, with very positive effects on earnings growth."

The group's retail activities in Portugal registered 19.2% growth in store sales, as a result of the 6% growth in like-for-like sales and the increase in the selling area (+21.7% at the end of the year).

The company's Pingo Doce stores recorded a 7.8% increase in like-for-like sales, whilst the Hypers stores posted a 8.5% decline and the Compact stores a 2.7% decline.