Italian supermarket chain Esselunga has reported €4.33 billion in sales in the first half of its financial year, up 6.7% year-on-year.
Growth was affected by COVID-19-related restrictions imposed on mobility between different municipalities, which also impacted its performance in the same period last year.
EBITDA saw a 9.9% growth, amounting to €427.1 million, and EBIT was up 5.6% to €241.8 million (+5.6%), positively affected by the closing of the five-year 'Fìdaty' loyalty programme.
Net profit amounted to €221.1 million, up 5.1% year-on-year thanks partly to €65 million in lower taxes, while capex reached €180.3 million.
According to the company, Esselunga remains at the top for price competitiveness, at 2.6% below the market average, while savings granted to customers amounted €791 million, up by more than €100 million compared to the first half of 2020.
During the first six months of 2021, Esselunga opened four new stores in Milan, Rome, Varese and Mantua, while another store re-opened in Varese following renovation.
Existing back-up credit facilities due August 2022 were closed and at the same time three revolving sustainability-linked facilities were signed for a total of €300 million with five-year tenure, linked to the goals set in the retailer's 2020-2025 Sustainability Plan.
These goals include the achievement of a 30% reduction of greenhouse emissions by 2025, and the donation of over €100 million in supplies for Italian schools in the 2018-2025 timeframe.
The board of directors of the company also appointed Gabriele Villa as general manager.
In July, the supermarket chain announced a pledge to use 100% guaranteed fair trade cocoa across its private-label range by 2025.