Italian supermarket group Esselunga has posted a 0.9% increase in sales in the first half of its financial year, to €4.06 billion.
The group said that its half-year performance was affected by COVID-19 lockdown measures in March and April, and the extended closure of its Atlantic Bars and Esserbella perfumeries – if these are excluded, the business would have seen 1.9% growth, it said.
During the period, Esselunga opened two new stores, in Milan, in viale Tibaldi and in Barzanò, the latter of which was acquired in February. In June, the second laESSE store was opened in Milan, at via Melchiorre Gioia.
Esselunga said that shelf prices were up by around 1.7% during the period, compared to an industry average of 3%, with the business eager to maintain low prices for its shoppers.
"It was a particularly difficult semester due to COVID-19," said Sami Kahale, CEO of Esselunga. "Our priorities have been to protect the health and safety of our customers and our people and to maintain operational continuity in a period of great uncertainty.
"On the commercial level, we were heavily penalised by the lockdown period during which over 50% of our customers were unable to leave their municipality of residence, in compliance with the provisions of regional decrees and ordinances; consequently he was unable to go to our stores to shop."
Kahale added that considering the challenging environment in which the group operated, it was "satisfied with the results obtained".
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.