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China's Sun Art's 2016 profit up 5.2 pct, beats forecast

HONG KONG, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Hypermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group Ltd on Sunday posted a 5.2 percent rise in 2016 net profit, beating forecasts, as steady demand from lower-tier cities helped offset increasing pressure from the country's rapidly growing e-commerce sector.

The retailer, a joint venture between Taiwanese conglomerate Ruentex Group and French retailer Groupe Auchan SA, posted a net profit of 2.6 billion yuan ($379 million) for the 12 months ended December, up from 2.4 billion yuan in 2015.

That compared with an average forecast of 2.5 billion yuan from 16 analysts polled by Reuters.

(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Mark Potter)