Jerónimo Martins, the Portugal-based food retailer, has posted a 75% rise in net profit for the first quarter, boosted by strong sales at its Polish Biedronka discount stores.

Martins’ net profit rose to EUR31.9m ($49.69m) in the first quarter to 31 March, at the top end of analysts’ estimates of EUR28.5m to EUR33m.

“The quality results achieved in the first quarter of 2008 reinforces management confidence in the success of the strategies under way,” said CEO Luis Palha da Silva. “These growth rates translate the strength of competitiveness of our business markets.”

However, the company added that it maintains a “cautious view on the macroeconomic and consumer environment”.

Consolidated sales were up 32.4% to EUR1.5bn and EBITDA reached EUR91.9m, a growth of 44.1%.

Despite “fierce competition” in the Polish market, total sales were up by 53.3%, with Biedronka, Poland’s largest discount store operator posting a 26.5% increase in like-for-like sales.

The company said that one of its key projects for 2008 is the integration of the Plus stores it acquired from Tengelmann in Portugal. It also has plans to open a further seven to ten Pingo Doce stores and an additional 70-100 Biedronka stores.