Eurotorg, Belarus' biggest retailer, has posted a 7.7% increase in net retail sales in the first half of its financial year, to BYN 2.34 billion (€810 million), while its second-quarter sales rose 6.6% (+0.6% like-for-like).
The company said that it has 'successfully adapted to changes in the business environment', largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has taken steps to maintain availability and explore new retail platforms.
One of these is Hit! Dostavka, a new online grocery service offering 6,000 of the most popular SKUs, which was rolled out during the half-year period.
As of 30 June, the Hit! Dostavka business managed three dark stores and had delivered 110,000 orders – accounting for around 10% of total online orders in the second quarter.
Dark stores operating under Hit! Dostavka are smaller (400 square metres to 1,000 square metres), and are located in densely populated areas, so as to ensure delivery as quickly as possible, Eurotorg said.
Across its online channels, Eurotorg reported an increase in average basket size of 30.1% in the second quarter.
Elsewhere, the group continued its store expansion plan, opening 13 new grocery stores in the second quarter of the year, all under the convenience format, while also closing six stores.
In line with its asset-light strategy, 12 of the 13 new openings are in leased premises. Convenience-style stores accounted for 52.9% of total net retail sales in the second quarter, it said.
As of 30 June, the group operated 879 stores, with a total selling space of 332,4000 square metres. The average selling space of stores opened in the second quarter was 186 square metres.
It also continued the expansion of its new Groshyk hard discount banner in the second quarter, with 13 such outlets now in operation across Belarus.
Adapting To Changes
"The group has successfully adapted to changes in the business environment driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to implement its strategy," said Eurotorg CEO Andrei Zubkou. "By maintaining seamless supplies, the group has ensured the availability of a full range of goods in all existing stores and continued to expand its business by opening new stores and significantly increasing e-commerce sales.
“Our efforts have resulted in sustainable net retail sales growth, thanks in part to LFL sales, which have recorded positive growth for the second quarter in a row."
The group said that like-for-like sales across its business were up 0.6% in the second quarter, which was largely driven by an increase in average basket size (+14.9%), but offset by negative like-for-like traffic (-12.5%), due to fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
Like-for-like sales in the first half of the year were up 1.9%.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.