Belgian discount supermarket chain Colruyt reported an 8 percent rise in first-half net profit and repeated its forecast for a more modest rise in full-year net profit.
Colruyt, which traditionally gives cautious guidance, has forecast net profit of 320 million euros for its 2009/2010 financial year, a 4.6 percent rise from a year earlier.
The group's discount formula continued to attract customers turning to cheaper goods, but higher labour costs caused by Belgium's system of automatic wage indexation dented its operating profit margin, Colruyt said on Monday.
Lower food inflation had also had a negative impact on revenues at its stores, the group said.
Belgium's annual rate of inflation rose to -0.1 percent in November from -1.0 percent in October, but remained well below levels recorded a year earlier, the Belgian Economics Ministry said on Friday.
Net profit for the six months ending Sept. 30 came in at 162.5 million euros, slightly above the 161 million forecast in a Reuters poll.
The group said its market share grew to 23.1 percent in the third quarter from 22.4 percent a year ago.
Colruyt competes with German hard discounters Aldi and Lidl, France's Carrefour and high-end Belgian retailer Delhaize.
Its shares are up about 9 percent in the year to date against a 29 percent rise for the DJ Stoxx European Retail index .SXRP, having clearly outperformed in 2008.
(Reporting by Antonia van de Velde)