Dutch supermarket operator and wholesaler Sligro has recorded a drop in full-year profits as economic conditions and low consumer confidence hit spending.

Earnings in the 12 months ended 29 December amounted to EUR69.5m (US$92.6m), an 11.1% decline on the prior year period, the group reported today (24 January). Despite the drop, Sligro said profits recovered in the second half of the year as actions it took to limit the impact of the poor economic conditions began to “bear fruit”.

In the first half, profits were down by 22.6%, Sligro said, but this decline slowed to just 2.3% in the second half.

Operating profit in the period also declined, by 14.5% to EUR90m. Sales, however, were up 1.9% to EUR2.47bn, with like-for-like sales growth amounting to 1.9%.

“Despite difficult economic conditions, Sligro Food Group had, in the course of 2012, increasing success in limiting their impact,” CEO Koen Slippens said. “The present economic climate calls for change and decisive action. It is good to see that the direction we took began to bear fruit as the year progressed and our profits recovered in the second half of 2012.”

The retailer last week announced it had acquired a stake in grocery ecommerce operation Superdirect.com.