Swedish retailer Axfood saw its profits increase in 2012 but CEO Anders Strålman expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s like-for-like sales.

Axfood booked a 4.5% rise in profit after tax to SEK895m. Impairment costs at its PrisXtra chain hit operating profit, which fell 4.6% to SEK1.19bn. Without the charge, operating profit dipped 0.2%.

Net sales grew 4.3% to SEK36.31bn as revenue from Axfood’s Willys and Hemköp chains increased.

However, like-for-like sales were up by a smaller amount, 0.3%, which Strålman described as “not entirely satisfactory”.

The Axfood chief said a downturn in the Swedish economy was expected in 2013, although he insisted the food retail sector was “relatively stable” and “less sensitive to economic swings”.

The retailer has set a target to match its 2012 operating profit and plans to maintain its level of investment in its business this year. Strålman said Axfood will open more new stores and continue to “modernise” its stores.