X5 Retail Group , a Russia-based major food retailer, has posted a 7.2% increase in consolidated net sales to RUB240.325bn ($7.38bn) in the first half (H1) of 2012, compared to net sales of RUB224.186bn ($6.88bn) in the same period last year.

Total like-for-like sales in the first six months of this year decreased 2.5%, while like-for-like traffic fell 3% however basket increased 0.5%.

In the first half of 2012, the retailer added 296 stores on net basis, including the opening of 274 soft discounters, 11 supermarkets, and 35 convenience stores; while 24 of its stores were closed.

Consolidated net retail sales grew 10% to RUB123.446bn ($3.79bn) in the second quarter of this year, compared to RUB112.2bn ($3.44bn) in the second quarter of theprevious year.

The company said the increase in sales was primarily due to an increase in promo-activities and marketing campaigns, improvement in shelf availability, and improved like-for-like results.

X5 Retail’s supermarkets, soft discounters and convenience stores recorded 5.6%, 15.9% and 49.8% growth, respectively in the quarter.

Net retail sales at hypermarkets, however, decreased by 9.9% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012, primarily due to the cancellation of the chain’s loyalty programme.

Like-for-like sales in the quarter decreased 1.1%, driven by a 1.5% decline in customer traffic, which was offset by a marginal 0.4% rise in the average basket.

The Moscow-based retailer said the total number of customer visits grew by 13.3% in the reporting quarter, primarily driven by soft discounters where customer visits increased 16.9%, on annual basis.

X5 added a net 159 stores in the second quarter of 2012, including 140 soft discounters, four supermarkets, and 15 convenience stores; while 12 of its stores were closed.

The firm operates soft discounter chain under the Pyaterochka brand, supermarket chain under the Perekrestok brand, hypermarket chain under the Karusel brand, online retail channel under E5.ru brand and convenience stores under various brands.

As at 30 June 2012, X5 Retail Group had 3,298 company-operated stores, totalling 1,820,000m² of selling space, with presence in 607 locations of European Russia, the Urals and Ukraine.