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BRUSSELS, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Belgian discount retailer Colruyt said its home market share rose in the first nine months of its financial year, as cost-conscious shoppers flocked to its stores in the run-up to Christmas.
The group's French wholesale business had strong sales, Colruyt also said on Monday, causing the group's food service activities to grow sales faster than the retail operations.
In France, Colruyt also grew sales at its retail business, mainly through the expansion of stores, it said.
Nine-month group sales rose 6.1 percent to 6.26 billion euros ($8.4 billion), compared with a forecast for 6.28 billion in a Reuters poll.
Colruyt, which operates 321 supermarkets in Belgium and 61 in France, competes with German hard discounters Aldi and Lidl and upmarket chains Carrefour and Delhaize. ($1 = 0.7429 euro) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Dan Lalor)