Portugal-based retailer Jeronimo Martins has reported a “strong” first-quarter with increases in both earnings and sales.

Earnings amounted to EUR75.3m (US$97.8m), a 10.4% increase on the prior year period.

EBITDA grew 13.6% to EUR166.8m, although EBITDA margins fell by 10 basis points to 6% due to start-up costs for its new stores in Colombia and price investment in Portugal.

Sales reached EUR2.77bn, a 15.6% improvement on last year. The group attributed the increase to LFL growth of 6.3%, the contribution from new stores and a small benefit from the appreciation of the zloty compared to the same quarter last year.

“The performance of the group’s companies in the first quarter of 2013 marked a good start to the year,” said CEO Pedro Soares. “The first quarter of the year, in line with our best expectations, provides a good basis for achieving another year of growth as we committed.”