Sonae MC, which operates the Continente chain in Portugal, has posted 11.5% growth in sales in the first half of its financial year, citing the 'extraordinary impact' of COVID-19 on the retail sector.
Like-for-like growth in the half-year was 8.3%, with the group reporting sales of €2.43 billion for the period.
In the second quarter alone, turnover grew by 9% to €1.24 billion, with like-for-like sales above 6%, it said.
This was driven by a 'very good performance' in the group's hypermarket business, due to their ' broad offering, wide spaces and perceived safe
environment', as well as its proximity stores and online business, the latter of which reported double-digit growth in the quarter.
In a statement the group said that its half-year performance demonstrates the 'superior value proposition of Sonae MC’s food retail formats, especially important in a sector where there is still a limit of five customers per 100 square metres'.
EBITDA margin at Sonae MC stood at 9.3% for the half-year period, compared to 9.5% in the same period last year, due to direct and indirect costs relating to the pandemic, such as hygiene and safety measures and staff bonuses.
Across the Sonae Group as a whole, consolidated turnover grew 5.9% to €3.14 billion, with the business seeing an 'unprecedented' increase in online sales and higher market shares across most of its businesses.
However, its Sonae Sierra, Worten Spain and Sonae Fashion business were forced to suspend operations for a period, which impacted the group's profitability – underlying EBITDA was down 5% in the first half.
"All our businesses have been severely impacted by this situation, but I am proud to say that our collective response has been quite outstanding," commented Cláudia Azevedo, CEO of Sonae.
"I feel truly honoured and privileged to lead such a resilient and generous team. These past few months have shown not only the cohesion and coordination of the top management team at Sonae, but also the strong commitment of our people to serve our customers and take great care of all our stakeholders."
Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, Azevedo said that she expects the next few months to bring "different types of challenges for our teams", adding that the group's "resilient portfolio" and "strong financial position" should leave it in good stead.
© 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.