Sweden's ICA Gruppen has published a first quarter trading update, noting that while it is still suffering financially in some areas as a result of the pandemic, it is also experiencing growth in areas such as online sales.
The estimated overall effect of the pandemic on consolidated operating profit for Q1 is approximately SEK -20 million, while the corresponding earnings effect in 2020 was approximately SEK +50 million, driven by customer stockpiling in March 2020.
Profit for the first quarter of this year was SEK 984 million (€97.2 million), which includes the net result of divestments and impairment losses, totalling SEK 26 million.
Consolidated net sales increased by 0.8% to SEK 30,602 million, aided by a strong performance in the online channel.
Per Strömberg, CEO, ICA Gruppen, said "we have had a stable start to the year, and the pandemic has continued to have a strong impact on our operations.
"As in the preceding quarter, the impact was positive for ICA Sweden and ICA Real Estate, but negative for our other operations. This applies especially for Apotek Hjärtat, where earnings decreased sharply as a result of a very weak pharmacy market.”
Since the quarter closed, ICA held its Annual General Meeting on 15 April, at which it approved a proposed dividend of SEK 13 per share.
In addition, the retailer has elected Charlotte Svensson as a new board member.
Elsewhere, the group also announced that Eric Lundberg will be made the new CEO of Apotek Hjärtat on 3 May.