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Food Retailer Dixy Posts Q1 Profit

Dixy Group, the country's third-largest publicly traded food retailer, reported a first-quarter profit Friday, compared with a loss a year earlier, as the economy recovered.

Net income was 129 million rubles ($4.2 million), compared with a loss of 790 million rubles in last year's first quarter, Dixy said in a statement. Sales rose 13 percent to 15 billion rubles.

The ruble gained 15 percent against the dollar in the 12 months through the end of March, making it cheaper for companies with revenue in the Russian currency to repay debt denominated in the greenback. Dixy's net debt stood at 7.21 billion rubles on March 31, including a $135 million loan.

"This year is positive for the company's development," chief executive Ilya Yakubson told analysts on a conference call. The company expects a "strong increase" in the size of average purchases in the second half, he added.

Sales will rise about 20 percent this year, driven by same-store revenue growth of 7 percent to 8 percent, the CEO said. The retailer, which mostly runs discount outlets across Russia, will spend as much as 3 billion rubles to add 100 outlets this year and has opened 25 stores so far in 2010, Yakubson said.

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