Portuguese retailer Jerónimo Martins posted a 2% rise in first-quarter net profit today (6 May) but said it continues to remain “cautious” about 2009.

For the three-month period, net profit edged up to EUR32.5m (US$43.5m) from EUR32.4m in the same period of 2008.

Revenues rose 6.7% to reach EUR1.61bn while EBITDA increased 9.6% to EUR100.7m.

The increase in sales was underpinned by the strength of the group’s formats and its expansion plan deployed in 2008. The company also benefitted from a 2% rise in like-for-like sales (excluding the foreign exchange effect).

The company said its strong operating performance contributed to the growth in profit, allowing it to offset the negative calendar effects, exchange rate and nonrecurrent gains registered in the same period of last year.

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“Jerónimo Martins continues to face 2009 with caution, although the sales growth demonstrates the strength of the group’s business models, especially in distribution, through the Pingo Doce, Recheio and Biedronka Banners,” the company said.

Benefiting from the contribution of 87 new stores, the group’s retail sales in Portugal were up by 11.2% compared to the first quarter of 2008.

The trend of sales volumes in Poland also continued to be strong, with like-for-like sales increasing 7.7% against the comparable period of 2008.