Dutch retailer and wholesaler Sligro Food Group has reported a fall in annual profits despite higher sales as pension costs hit the bottom line.

Profit for 2013 reached EUR68m, down 0.9% compared with 2012.

Sales were up, increasing 1.3% to EUR2.5bn.

CEO Koen Slippens said: “Sligro Food Group was able to maintain its results at a good level in 2013 in a market in which consumer spending was under increasing pressure as the year progressed. Without the additional (accounting) pension costs, profit would actually have increased.”

Operating profit from Sligro’s food retail arm doubled to EUR8m, which the firm put down to an improved gross profit margin.

The company said there were signs an economic recovery was on its way but said it did not believe it would have a positive impact on spending during 2014. Sligro added it had “learned to live with stagnating or deteriorating economic conditions by taking prompt action”.

“Although there are signs of an economic recovery, we do not expect it to drive growth in consumer spending in 2014. We are busy implementing a number of improvements and have announced two valuable acquisitions, giving us energy to address the challenges that face us in the year ahead,” Slippens.

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It also highlighted last year’s acquisitions of Van Oers and Superdirect would contribute around EUR55m to group sales in 2014.