Portugal's largest retailer Sonae eked out a 1.6% rise in third-quarter net profit on robust sales as the economy emerged out of a lockdown, helping it rebound from a loss in the preceding three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group, which runs around 300 Continente hypermarkets and large supermarkets, Worten consumer electronics stores, Sportzone stores and other retail chains, said its net profit reached €51 million ($60 million) in July-September.
Consolidated sales rose 5.9% to €1.77 billion in the third quarter, with sales from the food retail unit Sonae MC increasing 7.4% to €1.34 billion euros, the company said.
"In this context of the pandemic, Sonae continued to show a very resilient performance," Sonae's chief executive officer Claudia Azevedo said in a statement, highlighting the company's ability "to innovate and adapt quickly".
Portugal's GDP, in which private consumption makes up about two-thirds, expanded 13.2% in the third quarter, rebounding from a record slump of 13.9% in April-June marked by a nationwide lockdown, although it still contracted sharply from a year ago due to the pandemic.
Some restrictions are still in effect after the lockdown and new ones have been introduced recently.
Sonae said its underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), rose 8.6% to €177 million between July and September from a year ago, while the underlying EBITDA margin - a measure of profitability - increased 0.2 percentage points to 10%.
The company also reduced its net debt by 19% to €1.23 billion in September from a year ago.