Portuguese retail group Jerónimo Martins closed the first half of 2021 with a net profit of €186 million, up 78.9% year-on-year.
Consolidated sales rose 6.3% to €9.9 million, while net debt stood at €1.89 billion, compared to €2.15 billion in the same period.
EBITDA grew 12.6% to €715 million, including COVID-19 related costs of €10 million, which compares with €29 million recorded in the first half of 2020.
In Poland, Jerónimo Martins' main market, the Biedronka banner posted a 6.8% sales (7.7% like-for-like) increase to €7 billion, reflecting an increase in shop visits due to improvement in the pandemic situation and the consequent easing of restrictive measures.
The Polish market, which accounts for 70% of its turnover, saw the opening of 53 shops and renovation of 153 outlets.
Portuguese supermarket chain Pingo Doce recorded a sales growth of 4.6% (2.8% on a like-for-like basis) to €1.9 billion, 'maintaining strong commercial activity' despite the restrictions. In this period, Pingo Doce opened three new shops and renovated seven outlets.
Also in Portugal, cash and carry banner Recheio generated sales of €398 million, in line with the same period last year (-0.6% on a like-for-like basis).
Recheio anticipates a slow recovery in the HoReCa channel and will explore opportunities to continue growing in traditional retail, the retailer said.
Elsewhere, Colombian retailer Ara saw a turnover growth of almost 12% (12.6% on a like-for-like basis) to €473 million, reflecting the opening of 41 new shops during the period.
Jerónimo Martins said it invested around €200 million in the first half, of which 60% (€120 million) was allocated to Biedronka.
It plans to invest up to €700 million this year, depending on the restrictive measures that may still apply in the markets where it operates.
The investment will be used to add around 100 new shops to the Biedronka network and refurbishing 250-300 shops.
The company plans is to open around ten Pingo Doce shops and refurbish another 15 in Portugal, while Ara in Colombia will see the addition of 100 supermarkets.
In April of this year, Jerónimo Martins announced plans to invest approximately €11 million on an extraordinary annual bonus for 23,000 of its employees in stores and distribution centres across the country.