A pick up in food purchases triggered by coronavirus lockdowns extended a revenue bounce at French supermarket group Casino in the second quarter, with the group saying that online sales are still booming even as restrictions ease.
The retailer, which also controls Brazil's Grupo Pao de Acucar, said net revenue came in at €7.85 billion in the period, down 7.5% on a reported basis as currency swings took their toll and fuel sales fell.
But sales rose 10.4% in April-June, excluding these factors and on a same store basis, thanks to strong demand in France and Brazil during coronavirus lockdowns, building on 6.4% growth in the first quarter.
Casino's Finance Chief David Lubek said consumption trends were normalising after restrictions on restaurants were eased in France in June, but he said the group was still benefiting from changing shopping patterns.
"There was a very substantial shift from eating out to eating at home," Lubek told reporters. "Things are reverting back to normal but there are still much higher average baskets."
Online purchases remained 50% higher in terms of daily orders than they were before the coronavirus lockdowns, the group said.
The group reported EBITDA of €1.07 billion for the first six months of the year, down 5.1% as reported and up 4% at constant exchange rates.
It said measures to protect employees from the virus, including installing plexiglass barriers at check-out desks, and extra staff bonuses had added to costs.
Casino's convenience stores in cities benefited as shoppers turned to local suppliers, and the group, which also owns the Monoprix and Franprix brands, said it would continue to open more. Its CDiscount consumer electronics business also reported higher revenues.
Casino has been long in the spotlight over its high debt levels and has so far sold €2.8 billion of assets, including several hundred Leader Price stores to German rival Aldi. It said it was moving ahead with more disposals, as part of its plan to shed €4.5 billion in non-core businesses.