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SAO PAULO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - GPA SA , Brazil's biggest retailer, posted a slight advance in quarterly profit on Thursday as disciplined cost controls offset a sharp retail slowdown in the country.
Third-quarter net income rose 9 percent from a year earlier to 390 million reais ($162 million), just ahead of the nearly 7 percent rise in consumer prices over the same period.
Sales at stores open for at least 12 months, a measure known as same-store sales, rose just 3 percent from a year ago, with consumer confidence at a five-year low as Latin America's biggest economy fell into recession.
Still, GPA trimmed administrative expenses and held back operating costs, delivering the strongest operating profit margin in at least five years.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operating profit known as EBITDA, rose 13 percent to 1.168 billion reais, in line with an average estimate of 1.2 billion reais in a Reuters poll of analysts.
EBITDA as a share of net revenue, a measure of profitability known as the EBITDA margin, edged up to 7.5 percent from 7.3 percent a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed did not provide enough estimates for net income. ($1 = 2.40 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Brad Haynes; editing by Steve Orlofsky and Matthew Lewis)