(Adds CEO comments)
By Ceyda Caglayan
ISTANBUL, March 6 Turkish discount grocer BIM will expand this year into Egypt, where food prices have risen sharply since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Chief Operating Officer Galip Aykac said on Wednesday the company will open one store there in April and aims to be operating a chain of more than 30 by the end of the year, having identified a gap in a market that lacked a well developed retail sector.
Egypt has been scarred by unrest since Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising and the country is pressing for an International Monetary Fund loan to shore up its battered economy.
Under a 270 million lira ($150 million) investment plan for Turkey, BIM will open 375 stores in its domestic market this year, Chief Financial Officer Haluk Dortluoglu said. It will also open 50 new stores this year in Morocco, where it already has a presence.
He said BIM aims to boost sales by 17-18 percent this year and was open to acquisitions.
He gave no further details, but Aykac said the firm had ambitions to become a global retailer.
BIM's fourth quarter sales rose to 2.58 billion lira from 2.22 billion lira a year earlier, the firm said late on Tuesday - below forecasts of 2.64 billion from a Reuters poll.
Net profits also missed expectations of 92 million lira, rising 7.6 percent to 85 million lira.
The Turkish retail market is growing rapidly along with consumers' purchases power. Per capita spending is expected to have risen from $7,350 in 2011 to more than $10,000 by 2015, according to a Deloitte report.
($1 = 1.7916 Turkish liras) (Writing by Seda Sezer and Daren Butler; Editing by John Stonestreet)