Danish freight-to-retail group A.P. Moller-Maersk has posted deepening losses for the first nine months of the year - and foreign exchange has hit its retail businesses.

Losses increased to US$319m in the nine-month period, up from losses of $140m last year. The company said that a slow-down in demand for freight was principally behind the downward swing.

"As expected, the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group was still negatively affected by the challenging market conditions in the third quarter of 2009, particularly in the markets for the group's container vessels and tankers," Nils Smedegaard Andersen, CEO, commented.

The group, which owns the Netto and Danks Supermarked chains, said that its retail businesses also felt the negative impact of the economic downturn, with revenues declining to $7.61bn, down from $8.67bn last year. However, stripping out the impact of currency exchange, revenues remained flat, the company said.

For Netto, revenue was unchanged in the Danish market, but declining in the non-Danish markets. Revenue in Føtex, Bilka and Salling "declined slightly" compared to the same period of 2008.

Post-tax profits for Maersk's retail units totalled $243m, down from $270m last year. The company said that cost reductions had "a positive impact on the result" for the third quarter.

Looking to the full-year, Maersk reaffirmed previous guidance, predicting losses of $1bn.