Metro Retail posts P126.47-M loss amid lower foot traffic
Cebu-based retailer Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) remained unprofitable in the first quarter due to lower customer traffic arising from the imposition of stricter lockdown protocols and a shift in consumers’ preferences, in particular for essential goods.
MRSGI incurred a net loss of P126.47 million in the first three-months of 2021, a reversal of the P7.98-million net income posted in the same period a year ago.
While the first quarter retail season is typically lean following peak consumer spending in December, the net loss was primarily attributed to the 18.9-percent year-on-year contraction in revenues to P6.95 billion.
MRSGI’s total food retail business declined by 14.7 percent, while the general merchandise business fell by 30.2 percent year-on-year.
Counting only the turnover from stores operational in both quarters, blended same store sales dipped by 21.4 percent over the same period last year.
Meanwhile, operating expenses fell by 19.1 percent year-on-year to P1.48 billion, which MRSGI attributed to increased efficiency alongside continued cost reduction and savings measures.
In spite of the challenges from the pandemic, MRSGI’s cash flow as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) in the first quarter was positive at P236.74 million. The company noted its balance sheet remained solid with cash reserves of P960.35 million.
The company said its thrust to expand its store network to reach underserved communities played a pivotal role in its strategy.
After ending last year with 56 stores, MRSGI has since opened three more in the provinces of Cebu and Leyte. It also fully reopened its flagship Metro Ayala Center Cebu – Department Store, bringing its current network to 60 branches. It is set to open another store located in Bacolod this June.
“Along with the challenges and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic are opportunities for growth that we intend to tap. With the right strategy, people and partnerships, we are focusing on long-term sustainable recovery and growth,” said MRSGI president and chief operating officer Manuel Alberto. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA
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