Shares in Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins have fallen today (27 July), despite first-half net profit increasing dramatically.

Net income rose 41.4% to EUR144m (US$208.2m) over the half, which it attributed to the “remarkable evolution” of its Polish chain Biedronka.

Jeronimo Martins’ consolidated sales grew 17.5% to EUR4.7bn in the first half of the year. Its EBITDA rose 24.4% to EUR311m. Operating profit rose 4.4% to EUR207m over the half.

EBITA from Biedronka jumped 42.2% during the first six months of 2011, while its like-for-like sales grew 16%, Jeronimo Martins said. In the second quarter, Biedronka’s like-for-likes rose 20%.

Commenting on the results, Pedro Soares dos Santos said: “The excellent performance in the first-half confirms our best expectations regarding the growth of Biedronka in Poland. Also, our formats in Portugal, despite a difficult macroeconomic environment, proved to be highly resilient and delivered sales and EBITDA growth, positively contributing to the group’s performance.”

For the second quarter, net profit increased 47% to EUR87m, while consolidated sales rose 20.2% to reach EUR2.5bn.

Soares dos Santos said that the performance reported for the first half “reinforces our view that Biedronka will keep driving the strong growth of the group in 2011, and contributing to the strengthening of our cash flow generation and balance sheet”.

However, shares in the company were down 3.1% to EUR13.89 a share at 15:11 EST.