Russian retailer Magnit nearly doubled its net income for the first nine months of 2008, the company has reported.

The company's net income jumped 98% to reach US$118.9m compared to $60m in the previous year.

Net sales climbed 50.9% from $2.57bn to nearly $3.88bn due to store expansion and a 27.76% rise in like-for-like sales.

Gross margin went up from 19.3% to 21.2%, and EBITDA surged 97.1% from $134.6m to $265.3m.

Between January and September, Magnit opened 208 stores, including eight hypermarkets, and increased its sales area by 27.1%, from 593,100sq m to 753,600sq m.

Sergey Galitskiy, the company's CEO, said: "Crisis is a good time to look at one's business from all sides. Usually at such times they talk about costs only. We have been working with our expenses for many years and now it pays off.

"In terms of liquidity, our robustness together with the government support to retailers will help us to keep fast pace of development."