Italian supermarket chain Esselunga achieved sales of €8.37 billion in 2020, up 2.9% year-on-year, ahead of the market average of +2.2%.
Excluding sales across its Atlantic bars and EsserBella perfumeries, which were partially closed due to COVID-19, growth was 3.6%, the group said.
A strong contributor to this growth was e-commerce sales, which increased by 0.9% in the first half and by 4.8% in the second half of 2020.
During the pandemic, Esselunga waived grocery delivery fees for all over-65s, while 40% of the total capacity of e-commerce sales was reserved for over-75s and people with disabilities.
The company said that EBITDA increased 8.8% to €718.2 million (8.6% of sales), net profit grew from €258.6 million to E270 million, while investments were up 30% to €389.4 million.
On-shelf prices were affected by COVID-19, leading to inflation of 1.1%, with prices rising in the fresh products segment, particularly in fruit and vegetables as well as fish and meat.
During 2020, the retailer opened six supermarkets (at Viale Tibaldi – Milan, Barzanò, Montecatini Terme, Parma, Genoa and Pistoia) and four laEsse neighbourhood stores (all in Milan), taking its national store total to 165.
Esselunga also created a range of 'lowest price' products, which included around 475 SKUs.
In terms of the outlook for 2021, Esselunga says that its earnings performance will be affected by how the coronavirus scenario develops and by the measures adopted by the authorities, with particular reference to Atlantic bars and EsserBella perfumeries.
Despite the uncertainties associated with the growth in consumption, Esselunga plans to continue implementation of its development plan, which will see the group seek to open stores in cities where it is not yet present.
Since the start of 2021, a new Milan store has opened in Corso XXII Marzo, while the sixth LaEsse store was opened in Rome.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine