CORRECTED-Brazil retailer GPA posts steep plunge in quarterly profit

jueves 25 de febrero de 2016 11:29 GYT

(Corrects first paragraph to show net earnings fell by nearly 99 percent, not by half)

SAO PAULO Feb 25 (Reuters) - GPA SA , Brazil's biggest retailer, reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 6 million reais ($2 million), down nearly 99 percent from a year earlier, according to a securities filing on Thursday.

The company said weak sales, mismanaged inventory in the Cnova e-commerce unit and dismal results from home appliance division Via Varejo combined to hammer its profitability, underscoring the challenges ahead in a severe recession.

GPA flagged write-downs following an internal probe of Cnova in Brazil last month before replacing the local head of the division. The group also named a new head of supermarkets after sales in that division began to slip.

Surging energy costs and double-digit inflation last year made it harder for GPA to maintain profits in the face of stagnant sales. Operating costs rose 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, while net revenue edged up just 0.2 percent.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 61.7 percent to 622 million reais.

($1 = 3.96 reais) (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)