Russia's largest retailer, X5 Retail Group, today (26 May) booked an increase in profit for the first quarter and indicated that it expects to continue to fuel growth through store openings in the remainder of the year.

X5 net profit climbed 23% to US$96.9m in the three months to the end of March, the company said. Gross profit totaled US$914m and the group expanded its gross margin to 23.8%.

During the period, sales surged 51%, climbing to US$3.85bn. Like-for-like sales rose 12%, while new stores added 17% of sales growth and sales from Kopeyka stores contributed an additional 19%.

"X5's results this quarter reflect three major priorities: profit margin improvement, stepped up organic growth and launch of fast-tracked integration of Kopeyka," CEO Andrei Gusev said.

Looking to the full year, X5 said that it expected to grow sales by 40%. The company indicated that it planned to open 540 new stores in the 12 months, 500 of which will be in the fast-growing discount segment.