DUBAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Jarir Marketing, one of Saudi Arabia's largest retailers, reported a 3.5 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Monday as sales of electronic goods rose.
It made a net profit of 215.3 million riyals ($57.4 million)in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 208.1 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
Six analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast Jarir would make a quarterly net profit of 203.0 million riyals.
The company said the improvement was due to rising demand for electronic items, mainly smart phones, and an increase in the number of its stores to 45 from 40. Selling and distribution costs fell, it said.
Saudi companies issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results later.
Estimated turnover in the fourth quarter was 1.79 billion riyals, up 17.7 percent on the same three months of 2015.
The company, which operates in Egypt through its wholly-owned subsidiary Jarir Egypt Financial Leasing Co, said shareholder's equity took a 73 million riyal hit due to volatility arising from the flotation of the Egypt pound in November.
Egypt's central bank abandoned the pound's peg of 8.8 pounds to the dollar, allowing the currency to float freely, in an effort to attract inflows of capital and crush a booming black market in dollars. ($1 = 3.7490 riyals) (Reporting by Tom Arnold, editing by Louise Heavens)