Jerónimo Martins has reported on a positive start to 2011, with consolidated net profit soaring by 33.5 per cent over the year-earlier period to €56.4m, up from €42.3m in 2010.

Consolidated sales at the group climbed 14.7 per cent year-on-year, from €1.96bn to €2.24bn, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation grew 24 per cent to €146.7m.

Growth was driven by the success of the group's Polish unit, Biedronka, with sales up 21.7 per cent in local currency, on strong like-for-like growth, greater selling area and 'dynamic consumer behaviour'.

'The group's good results in this quarter clearly reflect two realities with different rates of growth in the two countries in which we operate,' said CEO Pedro Soares dos Santos.

'In Poland, Biedronka continues to post notable sales and results growth, in line with our best expectations regarding the potential of the Polish market and confirming our confidence in the company's execution capacity,' he continued. 'In Portugal, the economic situation has deteriorated. However, I trust that the consistent value propositions of Pingo Doce and Recheio to consumers will allow them to reinforce market shares.'

Looking ahead, Jerónimo Martins expects Poland to continue its strong contribution, increasing its store network by around 200 outlets in the process, while the group remains confident that its Portuguese stores will hold up in an adverse economic environment by increasing market share.

'I therefore anticipate, for the group, another year of very positive performance for the sales and results evolution,' Mr dos Santos added.