The growth in importance of local, neighbourhood stores during the pandemic helped boost Polish retailer and wholesaler Eurocash last year, the group said in a statement.
Revenues at Eurocash were up 2.2% for the year, to PLN 25.4 billion (€5.56 billion), with the business seeing an increase in sales across all business segments.
Consolidated EBTIDA at the business was PLN 804 million (€176 million), a 1.2% increase on the previous year, despite a charge of around PLN 15 million in terms of costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the closure of the HoReCa sector, Eurocash's wholesale business managed to report double digit growth (+10%) to PLN 18.9 billion. Sales in its retail operation stood at PLN 6.1 billion, a 3.2% rise.
Commenting on its performance, Jacek Owczarek, member of the management board and financial director of Eurocash Group, said, "Our overriding goal was to ensure the continuity of the food supply chain to millions of consumers in every corner of Poland.
"The proximity of small and medium-sized grocery stores, their locality, and experienced service that knows the consumer, have become even more important. Despite many challenges, we have fulfilled our mission."
Owczarek added that the business generated "solid financial results" despite several of its businesses, notably Eurocash Gastronomia and Inmedio, taking a significant hit due to the pandemic.
In terms of its wholesale arm, which accounts for 74% of the business' total revenues, online orders surged, as its eurocash.pl platform saw a 'dynamic development', the group said.
Online orders accounted for nearly 80% of sales in the group's Eurocash Dystrybucja business, supplying stores such as Euro Sklep, Groszek, Lewiatan and Gama.
As of the end of 2020, the group's wholesale network comprised 180 cash and carry wholesalers, 9,317 local grocery stores and 5,251 affiliated stores.
In terms of retail, the year saw the completion of an integration process instigated in recent years, under its Delikatesy Centrum brand, with the business now boasting 'one organisational structure operating under a common brand,' the company said.
'Therefore we can now focus on the development of the offer for consumers, digital transformation, and further expansion, together with our clients – owners of independent retail stores.'
Finally, sales in its 'projects' arm exceeded PLN 300 million, a 187% increase on the previous year. This was mainly driven by the group's acquisition of the Frisco.pl business in June of last year, it said.
© 2021 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.