Shares in Jeronimo Martins fell today (25 July) after the Portugal-based retailer said a slowdown in Poland, its largest market, would put pressure on sales this year.

Jeronimo Martins said the slowing Polish economy meant its would not reach its “ambition” of a “low double-digit” increase in like-for-like sales.

The retailer has more than over 2,300 stores in Poland and Portugal and over 1,900 of those are in Poland. Shares in the company were down 4.34% at EUR11.92 at 16:38 CET today.

Jeronimo Martins’ comments came as it reported higher profits and sales for the first half of the year – but a slowdown in its underlying sales in Poland.

Net profit was up 13.2% at EUR151.9m. Sales increased 12.3% to EUR5.11bn. However, second-quarter like-for-like sales from its Biedronka chain in Poland rose 4.7%, compared to a 9.5% increase in the first three months of 2012.

Jeronimo Martins insisted Biedronka was up against a “very tough comparison” in the second quarter. In last year’s corresponding period, like-for-like sales increased 20%. 

It said: “We are confident that Biedronka’s execution capacity, with strong cost control and continued improvements in the efficiency levels will mean that a slight slowdown is sales growth will not have a material impact on the results and cash flow expected for the year.”