Portugal's Sonae MC Sees Double-Digit Increase In Turnover In First Quarter
Portuguese retailer Sonae MC, which operates the Continente banner, has posted a 14.0% increase in turnover in the first quarter of its financial year, while like-for-like sales were up 10.6%.
Like-for-like sales were up 10.6% at the business, which said that the first half of March saw 'unprecedented' sales across the banner, following a strong January and February.
The retailer said that in March, its food retail formats posted double-digit like-for-like sales growth, with its online channel reaching 'extraordinary' order levels.
Underlying EBITA rose to €96.5 million, representing a 'stable' margin of 8.1%, the group added.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions introduced on 15 March, which saw a restriction of four customers per 100 square metres in its stores, food retail sales returned to more normal like-for-like levels, it added.
The group noted that several of its non-food formats were deemed non-essential businesses as per the lockdown measures, and were forced to suspend their operations, including Bagga coffee shops, Go Natural restaurants, and its Dr Wells and Arenal banners.
While sales were up across the business, this was accompanied by an increase in operational costs due to COVID-19, with the implementation of new hygiene and safety measures, the issuing of staff bonuses, and a reconfiguration of the sales mix.
Remote working was also implemented at the group's central offices, which impacted around 6,000 employees, the group said.
Sonae MC's positive performance was echoed by the wider Sonae group, which saw consolidated turnover increase 7% to €1.55 billion, and underlying EBITDA up 5%.
“The start of the year was very positive for Sonae, with all our businesses posting strong growth and improving their profitability levels until February, proving yet again the robustness of our strategies and value propositions," commented Cláudia Azevedo, Sonae chief executive.
"In March, the Covid-19 pandemic hit our main geographies and we began experiencing an unprecedented and challenging situation. Although all our businesses have been strongly impacted by this situation, I am proud to say that our reaction has been quite outstanding."
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.