Portuguese retailer Jerónimo Martins has said that sales at its core Biedronka banner were up 10.4% in local currency last year, as the group navigated an 'unprecedentedly challenging' year.
Like-for-like sales at Biedronka were up 7.1% for the year, the group said. Sales in euro-denominated terms were up 6.7%.
In its home market of Portugal, the group found the going a bit tougher, with its Pingo Doce brand seeing sales down by 1.9%, with like-for-likes down 2.2%. Its Recheio cash and carry business saw sales down 15.9%.
Elsewhere, the group's Ara business in Colombia posted a 24.4% increase in sales over the full year, while sales in euro-denominated terms were up 8.9%.
‘The unprecedentedly challenging 2020 has put us to the test and summoned us to give our very best," commented Pedro Soares dos Santos, Jerónimo Martins chairman and CEO. "In a pandemic context marked by very high uncertainty, our teams have surpassed themselves and ensured remarkable growth at Group level, while reinforcing competitiveness in all banners.
"Throughout the year, we remained true to our promise of quality at the best price, even when restrictions in Portugal and Colombia sharply reduced the high traffic that our stores were used to. We believe that investing in competitiveness in an adverse context was a fundamental decision that will reinforce the confidence of our consumers."
In Poland, the group said that it opened 129 new stores (113 new new additions) over the course of the year, which left it with 3,115 locations as of the end of the year.
It said that over the course of the year, it worked on adapting its Biedronka operation to ensure more 'convenience and availability to consumers'. Elsewhere, the group's Hebe drugstore banner posted a 2.2% decrease in sales (in local currency) due to the closure of several shopping malls.
'Biedronka led the growth in the food retail sector in Poland, proving the effectiveness of its speed of response from the first moment of the pandemic, as well as the flexibility of the operation and creativity used to reinforce the competitiveness of its value proposition,' the group said in a statement.
In Portugal, Pingo Doce opened 13 stores, including four Pingo Doce & Go convenience outlets, while also reinforcing its 'commercial and communication dynamics', and seeking to mitigate the impact of lost trading hours at the weekend, when curfews were implemented in several municipalities.
'Despite the severity of the restriction measures in Portugal, Pingo Doce and Recheio maintained a strong commercial dynamic and spirit of initiative, continuously reinforcing their capacity to mitigate the negative effects from the pandemic,' it said.
In Colombia, following the phased lifting of lockdown restrictions in September, its Ara business saw a surge in like-for-like sales, however new measures to control the pandemic towards the end of the year.
Looking ahead to the coming year, Jerónimo Martins said, 'In the context of the stress test provided by the pandemic along 2020, all banners ended the year with reinforced models and even more prepared to face an operational context that will remain very demanding in 2021.'
© 2021 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