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UPDATE 1-ICA Gruppen Q1 profit beats forecast, ICA Sweden April sales up 8 pct
May 9, 2017 / 5:42 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-ICA Gruppen Q1 profit beats forecast, ICA Sweden April sales up 8 pct

(Adds detail, company comment)

May 9 (Reuters) - Swedish grocery retailer and pharmacy group ICA Gruppen on Tuesday reported a slightly bigger increase than expected in first-quarter adjusted operating profit and said sales at its Swedish ICA stores grew 8 percent in April.

* Q1 EBIT before non-recurring items grew to 996 mln SEK ($112.6 million) from a year-ago 959 mln vs a Reuters poll forecast of 988 mln

* In April, sales in Swedish ICA stores grew 8.0 pct yr/yr, with like-for-like stores up 7.3 pct

* Swedish grocery store operator ICA Sweden accounts for the bulk of ICA Gruppen’s turnover. Its operations also include a pharmacy chain, a home textiles chain, a bank, real estate and Baltic grocery chain Rimi

* Says Q1 market looked roughly like the end of last year - a slightly more tentative market with weak volume development in which a comparatively large share of sales growth was price-driven

* Says the fact Easter falls in April this year and February 2016 included a leap day makes it a bit difficult to have an exact idea of the market’s development, but we believe our sales are well in line with the market

* Q1 earnings in line with company’s financial targets

* Says that, in a market that is changing at a rapid pace, the four key areas that we are primarily focusing on this year are meal solutions, distinct price value, health & sustainability, and the digital shift

* End-Q1, around 200 ICA stores had e-commerce, accounting for around 2.5 pct of these stores’ sales

* Says in Estonia, 15 of 43 Saastumarket stores have been remodeled into Rimi stores, and by year-end essentially all conversions will have been completed. A few units will also be closed

Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 8.8425 Swedish crowns) (Reporting By Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Simon Johnson)

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