X5 Retail Group saw its like-for-like sales fall almost 4% in the first three months of the year, the Russian retailer reported today (11 April).

Like-for-like sales declined 3.9% in the three months to the end of March, X5, Russia’s largest retailer by sales, said.

Like-for-like sales were hit by cannibalisation, a low level of advertising and promotion and tough year-on-year comparables. In addition, the firm said that its hypermarket business was “in transition” as it is separated from the supermarket business, but emphasised that profitability at this format had been preserved.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, X5’s like-for-likes fell 2%. 

However, year-on-year, the retailer’s top line increased in the first three months of 2012. Consolidated net sales increased by 4.4% during the period, rising to RUB116.87bn (US$3.86bn) thanks to new stores.

During the period the company added 42,000 square metres of selling space. This, CEO Andrei Gusev said, positioned the company for “another record year of growth”. X5 is targeting sales growth of 15-20% in the full year and and EBITDA margin above 7%, Gusev added. 

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