Finland-based retailer Kesko has booked an increase in food earnings in the first quarter.

Operating profit was up 38.9% to EUR48.2m (US$63m), the company reported today (25 April). Profitability was improved by “significant” savings achieved from enhanced operations, it said.

Net sales increased 3.5% to EUR1.04bn, while the grocery sales of its K-food stores was up 1.5%.

Group pre-tax profit was, however, down 36.8% to EUR15.8m, while operating profit dropped 16.6% to EUR18.6m due to sales declines in the car trade, the building and home improvement trade and the department store trade. Net sales slid 6.9% to EUR2.16m.