Russian retailer Lenta has reported a 0.7% increase in sales in the first half of its financial year, as the group starts to see the benefits of its "new strategic plan", according to chief executive Vladimir Sorokin.
The business reported a 0.7% like-for-like decline in sales in the half-year period, with average basket growing by 1.4% and traffic declining by 2.1%.
Sales for the period came in at RUB 215 billion (€2.46 billion), the company said.
"With respect to our core formats, hypermarkets and supermarkets, the results of the first six months of 2021 are better than we might have expected, given the fact that the results of the same period of 2020 were driven by an unprecedented increase in consumer demand as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown here in Russia," Sorokin commented.
Lenta's Online Boost
The most significant increase came in the group's online channel, which saw sales grow 322% year-on-year to RUB 7.9 billion in the period, with online orders up 426% to 4.4 million.
In the second quarter, following its Capital Markets Day at the end of March, Lenta began to execute a new strategic plan to pursue growth opportunities through the opening of new formats, strategic acquisitions, and the expansion of its online offer.
"For example, in Q2, we opened 11 Lenta Mini stores," Sorokin added. "This new format is a very interesting and exciting initiative. The early results are promising, and we continue to make improvements with every new store opening."
Elsewhere, during the quarter, the group announced the acquisition of Billa Russia and Semya, which Sorokin said will "strengthen our competitive position in two key markets, Moscow and Perm, and accelerate our transition into a large multi-format retailer".
The retailer has also made a number of changes to its management team.
"We may have a long road ahead of us, but I am very encouraged by the progress we have achieved during these first few months," said Sorokin.
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