Mercadona’s gross sales rose 8.2% to E17.8bn (£14.98bn) in 2011 over 2010. Net income increased 19% to E474m (£398.8m).

The retailer invested approximately E540m (£454m) in opening a total of 46 new stores and hired 6,500 new employees in 2011, bringing the total to 70,000. Mercadona said it is ready to start international expansion this year and is considering options in Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium.