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Sun Art Retail Jumps After Reporting 15% Profit Increase

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., China’s largest hypermarket operator, rose by the most in more than two years in Hong Kong trading after posting a 15 percent gain in full-year profit and saying it would expand in smaller cities.

Sun Art climbed 7 percent to close at HK$9.45, the biggest gain since October 2011, compared with a 1.5 percent decline in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

The retailer plans to add as many as 60 hypermarkets this year mostly in the third and fourth-tier Chinese cities, Chief Executive Officer Bruno Mercier said at a media briefing today. Net income rose to 2.78 billion yuan ($452 million) in 2013 from 2.41 billion yuan a year earlier, the Shanghai-based company said in a Feb. 28 statement.

The company has secured 160 sites to open hypermarkets, sufficient for its expansion for three years, it said in a statement on Friday. Sun Art is vying for market share with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Wumart Stores Inc. amid saturation in China’s first-tier cities.

Sales climbed 11 percent to 86.2 billion yuan and same-store sales increased 2 percent, the company said in its statement.

Same-store sales grew between 1 percent and 2 percent in the first two months this year, Mercier said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Butt in Hong Kong at rbutt4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net; Tan Hwee Ann at hatan@bloomberg.net

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