The Mercator Group has called off its attempts to buy the trade division of its rival Merkur.

The Slovenian retailer said in a statement that the deal had been halted because of opposition by creditor banks of Merkur Group, who did not want to see parts of the business sold off.

"Considering new facts, the strategic combination, as it was foreseen in the letter of intent, is not feasible," a statement said.

"Mercator will be open for investigating other possibilities for strategic combinations with the trade division of Merkur in the frame of its strategic plans," it added.

In May, Mercator posted single-digit growth in profits and sales for the first quarter.

The company said that net profit rose 3.1% during the period, climbing to EUR6.65m (US$8.4m). Sales increased 3.2% during the three months, climbing to EUR637.2m.

Mercator said that its results were boosted by the investments it has made in its retail network as well as its acquisition of Croatian retailer Getro.