TEL AVIV, March 17 (Reuters) -
* Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, said on Sunday its net profit fell in the fourth quarter due to the cost of rebranding and launching a newly purchased drugstore chain.
* The company posted net profit of 49 million shekels ($13 million) versus 77 million a year earlier, saying the gap stemmed from the drugstore launch.
* Revenue increased 10.3 percent to 3.2 billion shekels as same store sales rose 3.0 percent.
* Shufersal last year agreed to buy New-Pharm Drugstores, which operates dozens of branches in Israel, for 130 million shekels. It rebranded it under the name “Be” and officially launched it in the fourth quarter.
* Expenses rose to 760 million shekels from 663 million due to the integration of New-Pharm and to costs associated with the launching of a new credit card, as well as a rise in salary expenses.
* ($1 = 3.5947 shekels) (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen)