NorgesGruppen, Norway’s largest retailer, saw sales and profits increase in 2012 but reported lower margins amid “tough” competition in the country’s grocery sector.

The company said its operating margin dipped from 4.2% in 2011 in 4.1% last year despite higher sales. Revenue increased 5.9% to NOK62.09bn (US$10.67bn).

“2012 was a good year for NorgesGruppen,” CEO Tommy Korneliussen said. “We had positive development within all our grocery business, although competition was fierce. It was especially nice that our convenience stores and supermarkets were able to grow in 2012.”

According to Nielsen data published by rival retailer Reitan Gruppen, NorgesGruppen accounts for 38.5% of Norway’s grocery market. NorgesGruppen saw sales increase faster than the country’s sector in 2012 and upped its market share from 37.4%.

However, Reitan Gruppen claimed its REMA 1000 chain, the third-largest food retailer in Norway, saw sales grow the fastest among the major grocers in the country last year.