Magnit today (1 April) posted a 93% jump in annual profits for 2008 and the Russian grocery retailer predicted its profits would improve in the coming year despite the downturn.

The company, which is listed on the London stock exchange, said that net profit for the 12-month period increased to US$187.9m last year, from $97.4m in 2007.

Magnit said that earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation rose 83% to $401.67m. Gross margin increased to 21.7%, from 19.9%.

The group was also unveiled a 45% jump in revenue, which increased to $5.35bn, up from $3.68bn, thanks to both new store openings and same-store sales gains.

Magnit was also upbeat on its outlook for the coming year, predicting EBITDA margins of 8-8.5%, up from previous guidance of 7.5%.

Store traffic rose 1.8% in January and February, while average per visit spend was up 13%, Magnit said.

The company operates at the discount end of the grocery retail sector and does not operate a large number of stores in the highly competitive Moscow market.

Magnit shares gained 7.95%, climbing to $6.24 at 3.50pm (GMT).