Mercator, the country’s largest food retailer, has suffered a first-quarter net profit drop of 30.8 per cent year on year to €6.4m (£5.7m), which it attributed largely to higher financing costs. Operating profit for the first three months of the year rose by 11.5 per cent year on year to €24.6 million (£22.1m), while sales were up 1.1 per cent to €617.7m (£555.4m). The group said its sales growth came despite a fall in retail demand across the markets where the group operates. Mercator has a market share of 36 per cent in Slovenia’s grocery sector and also operates in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria.