Swedish retailer ICA Gruppen has reported a 'strong' performance in its full-year 2021 – a period marked by continued volatility in the market, the retailer said.
Its Apotek Hjärtat business reported a strong earnings performance with higher market share in online as well as physical stores.
Rimi Baltic reported improved earnings and higher margins despite new COVID-19 restrictions and competition from new Lidl store openings in Latvia.
ICA Gruppen CEO, Per Strömberg, commented, “We can now sum up the full year 2021 – a year characterised by continued volatile markets, but for which we can show favourable performance for our businesses.
"Important steps have been taken in our future-oriented projects, and given the conditions, sales and earnings performance were favourable for the various parts of the group. In addition, we succeeded in maintaining operating margin at the same high level as in 2020.”
Net sales for January-December 2021 grew 1.3%, to SEK 127.96 billion (€12.29 billion), while EBITDA increased by 2.4% to SEK 11.4 billion (€1.1 billion).
Operating profit, excluding items affecting comparability, dropped 0.1% to SEK 5.8 billion (€560 million).
Earnings per share increased by 9.1% to SEK 22.52 from SEK 20.65 in 2020.
For the fourth quarter, consolidated net sales increased by 0.8% to SEK 32.9 billion (€3.2 billion), up from SEK 32.6 billion (€3.1 billion) in the same period last year.
Operating profit, excluding items affecting comparability, dropped to SEK 1.3 billion (€120 million), down 5.3% year-on-year.
Profit for the quarter amounted to SEK 1.04 billion (€100 million), including the net result of divestments and impairment losses of SEK 6 million.
Earnings per share were SEK 5.16, while cash flow from operating activities, excluding ICA Bank, was SEK 2.4 billion (€230 million).
The company also closed the year with new climate targets, reducing emissions of CO2 equivalents by 14% compared with 2020.
Strömberg added, “The sustainability issue is growing increasingly important in our real estate operations, and extensive work is in progress to reduce the environmental and climate impacts both from existing properties and from new construction. In this regard, several of our ongoing projects meet the highest standards for sustainability.”