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Retail

Jerónimo Martins CEO Warns Of 'Uncertain' Christmas Ahead

The chief executive of Jerónimo Martins, Pedro Soares dos Santos, has suggested that the coming Christmas season may be "impacted by restrictions on mobility and lack of confidence [by] a more price-sensitive consumer", as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

dos Santos was commenting following the announcement of the Portuguese retailer's nine-month results, in which it reported a 3.9% increase in sales, to €14.2 billion, and a 1.9% drop in EBITDA.

"Six of the first nine months of 2020 were marked by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said. "During this period, the determination of our teams and the flexibility of our operations allowed us to be agile and creative. We adapted the value proposals of our banners to complex market conditions, reinforcing their assertiveness and relevance to the consumer.

"Despite the tough times we live in, I believe that today we are better prepared than six months ago to deal with the demands of the reality of each market and to continue to grow in a sustainable way."

Regional Performance

The retailer's core Biedronka business, in Poland, posted a 7.2% increase in like-for-like sales in the first nine months of the year, boosted by extended opening hours, a local products drive, and what the company has described as 'business assertiveness', particularly in terms of dealing with the pandemic.

It said that the Polish market showed a 'certain resilience to the impacts of the health crisis' until the end of Q3, however consumers have become more cautious and price sensitive.

Biedronka accounted for 69.8% of the group's consolidated total sales in the period.

In Portugal, its Pingo Doce brand saw sales down 2.3% over the nine month period, compared to the same period last year, amidst 'clear signs of trading down' in food retail.

Restrictions on the number of people that could enter a store hit its sales performance, as did a drop off in traffic at its restaurants and coffee shops. At the same time however, it increased its range of promotions in store, and unveiled around 200 new private label products.

Elsewhere, the group's Recheio cash and carry business saw a 15.6% drop in sales, largely due to the declines in the HoReCa sector, while in Colombia, Ara increased sales in local currency by 25.1%, including a like-for-like gain of 9.8%.

© 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.

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