Brazil's 2004 grocery store sales rose 9.4% to BRL98bn (US$36.1bn), according to the country's supermarkets association Abras.

"The improvement in the economic situation in 2004, including the drop in unemployment, the rise in income and controlled inflation, contributed to the sector's growth," Abras was quoted by Dow Jones International News as saying.  

After adjusting for inflation, grocery store sales rose 2.6% in 2004, Abras said, compared to a 4.5% drop in 2003.

Abras added that food and beverage prices in Brazil rose 3.9% in 2004, lower than inflation in many other sectors.