Spanish retailer DIA more than halved its net loss in the first half, compared to the same period a year earlier, saying a trend of people spending more in its neighbourhood shops during lockdown was continuing as restrictions eased.
The net loss totalled €187.7 million compared with €418.7 million in the same period in 2019, when Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman won control of the group.
DIA's bargain offerings helped it build market share when Spain's economy dived after the 2008 financial crisis, but it lost out to rivals who invested more in their stores as a return to economic growth put more money in people's pockets.
Like-for-like sales, a key indicator for retailers, picked up before people's movement was restricted and continued to rise afterwards, climbing 10% in June and 8% in July, DIA said.
Confined people ate more at home, and the size of their shopping baskets swelled 25.7% on average during the period.
DIA said it was impossible to estimate the potential impact of the pandemic, citing its potential to affect sales, production volumes and supply and distribution chains as well as businesses, consumers, capital markets and the overall economy.
"Our second quarter financial performance demonstrated the positive impact of both our response to the COVID-19 situation and our ongoing business transformation," commented chairman Stephan DuCharme. "Customers are responding to our attractive proximity offer and emerging online capabilities, and the maintenance of positive like-for-like performance in June and July post-lockdown is a good indicator of progress.
"Looking ahead, we will continue to deliver on transformation roadmap initiatives in the second half, focused on the key pillars of our improved commercial value proposition and franchise model, underpinned by continued operational efficiencies.”