Sun Art Profit jumps 71%

Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. (6808), China’s largest hypermarket operator, boosted second-half profit by 71 percent as it opened more stores in the world’s second-largest economy.

Net income rose to 816 million yuan ($130 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31, from 477 million yuan for the same period a year earlier. The results were derived from full-year earnings the company filed to Hong Kong’s stock exchange today.

Sun Art opened 46 new stores in 2011. The retailer, backed by France’s Groupe Auchan SA, overtook Carrefour in 2007 as the biggest operator of hypermarkets in China, where the industry’s sales may almost double to 973 billion yuan in 2016 from 507 billion yuan last year, according to researcher Euromonitor International.

“Sun Art is expanding rapidly and is on the way to become a real industry leader with a far-ahead-of-peer market share,” Vivian Liu, a Shanghai-based analyst with Sinopac Securities Asia Ltd said in a Feb. 17 note. She rates the stock “buy.”