Belgian discounter Colruyt has seen its retail sales grow by more than 7% during its fiscal first quarter as the company gains share through a focus on low prices.

The company said yesterday (30 July) that its retail sales had risen by 7.3% to EUR1.28bn (US$1.8bn) during the three months to 30 June.

Colruyt, which also has wholesale and foodservice divisions, said turnover was up 6.6% to EUR1.67bn. Stripping out fuel sales, revenue was up 8%.

"As a result of the current economic recession, consumers tend to focus more on prices. Through the consistent implementation of its lowest prices strategy, Colruyt continued to gain market share," Colruyt said.

However, the retailer sounded a note of caution on its sales prospects for the rest of the fiscal year.

Colruyt's said its sales last year were boosted by inflation, which, it said, had swung to deflation in the current fiscal year.

"Inflation continues to drop (with decreases in prices for fruit and vegetables), which implies that the sales in the rest of the year will have to do without last year's inflation bonus," Colruyt said.

The group added that it would provide guidance on annual net profits at its general meeting in September.