Finnish retailer S Group has said that sales in its supermarket division were up 6.1% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the corresponding period last year, a performance it described as 'significant' due to tough comparatives.
Its convenience store and fuel businesses have also been 'on an upward trend' in the early part of the year, with its ABC service stations benefiting from an increase in road traffic volumes.
From March 2020 onwards, S Group saw a sharp increase in retail sales, it said, which has boosted year-on-year growth by around 9%.
"The same phenomenon has continued throughout the coronavirus period; namely that supermarket sales have consistently been several percent higher than in the previous year," commented Hannu Krook, chief executive of S Group (SOK).
"The development of e-commerce sales also continues to be many times higher than in the early months of the previous year. From now on, the comparison will take place entirely in the coronavirus period, so it will be interesting to see how sales develop in the coming months."
Overall, S Group saw a 0.7% increase in sales in the January to March period, to €2.73 billion. It recently announced details of a major store renovation programme.
Tourism And Restaurants
It said that the situation in its tourism and restaurant businesses 'continued to be very challenging' in the early part of the year, with a lack of foreign tourism and business travel, as well as continued restaurant closures.
'The phasing out of restrictions and the improvement of vaccine coverage will make it difficult to expect a lively spring and summer in restaurants and hotels, after a difficult first year,' the group said. 'It would be important that tourism in the Helsinki metropolitan area, which has been hit hard, would also start to recover next summer.'
Across its other businesses, S Group said that its car trade has seen 'clear and accelerating growth' in the first half of the year. In March, its car business saw sales growth of more than 30% compared to the previous year, it said.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Dayeeta Das. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.