Finland's S Group said that its convenience store and forecourt business reported a 17.9% increase in sales in the period from January to June, boosting its overall retail division.
In June, retail sales in this division, where S Group operates the ABC chain, were 27.1% higher than the previous year, indicating that the business is 'returning to normal' after the pandemic.
Overall retail sales at the business were up 5.2% in the half-year period, to €5.89 billion, with sales in its grocery arm rising by 3.9%.
S Group Sees Improvement
An interest rate crisis last year, coupled with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, makes comparatives challenging, the group said, however S Group is pleased with how the business is developing, said Hannu Krook, SOK's chief executive.
"The food trade, which has grown strongly since the beginning of the interest rate crisis, continued to grow, and we grew by more than the rest of the market, in the first half of the year," he said.
Krook added that the group has revamped its entire grocery market network, which is leading to improved results, while the development of online channels has also boosted sales.
Department Stores And Tourism
Away from retail, S Group said that its sales at its department store and specialty store arm were down 1.1% in the period, while in tourism and catering, sales dropped by 14.7%.
'Compared to 2019, it can be seen that the tourism and catering trade in particular still has a long way to go before it returns to pre-coronavirus levels,' the group said.
It added that its tourism and catering business exceeded expectations in June 2021, while July also 'looks extremely good', driven by domestic tourism demand.
S Group, which recently announced the appointment of a new marketing chief, will publish its full interim results on 25 August.