Colombian supermarket chain Almacenes Exito has said it may expand its operations to Ecuador, Peru and Panama in the next few years as part of a regional expansion plan.

"We are going to continue operating in Venezuela and we do not rule out Ecuador, Peru and Panama in the short term. That could be three years from now," Carlos Mario Diaz, Exito's vice president, told Reuters.  

The chain is controlled by Colombian conglomerate Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno, while French supermarket giant Casino has a 32.9% stake.

Hit by increasing competition from France's Carrefour and Colombia's Carulla Vivero, Exito's sales fell to 2.16trn (US$772.9m) pesos for the January to September period, compared to 2.23trn pesos a year earlier.

For the same period, net profit slid to 10.16bn pesos from 14.72bn pesos a year earlier.