Russian grocery retailer Magnit's profits grew 22.3% in the first nine months of the year on the back of rising sales.

Magnit's net profit for the period to the end of September reached RUB7.2bn (US$235.8m). Gross profit increased by 29.4% to RUB36.68bn.

However, Magnit said gross margin fell from 23.3% in the same period of 2009 to 22.3% driven by price investments.

Nonetheless, CEO Sergey Galitskiy said the results demonstrate "steady sales and operating efficiency growth at rates exceeding market expectations".

Over the nine-month period, like for like sales grew 6.8%, with growth driven by sales in its hypermarket format which posted 21.4% like-for-like growth.

Galitskiy said the company is forecasting sales growth of not less than 36% for the full year, with EBITDA margin expected not to be less than 8.2%.