The Spar Group has revealed that its operating profit for the six months ended 31 March 2021 grew 28% to R1.7bn (£86.8m) from R1.3bn (£66.4m) the previous year, reflecting “exceptionally strong performances” in European countries.
Turnover also increased by 7.5% to R64.2bn (£3.2bn) from R59.7bn (£3.05bn) despite sales slowing “significantly” in the month of March 2021 whilst the majority of Europe remained in lockdown.
Meanwhile, BWG Foods, which operates Spar in both Ireland and South West England, delivered a turnover growth of 13.3%. This was attributed to all retail brands continuing to “perform strongly” outside of city centres as consumers supported their local community stores during the lockdown periods.
In Europe, with lockdown measures expected to ease during the summer months, the group hopes it will enable some recovery to sales as these markets are expected to benefit from people continuing to staycation.
Conversely to this, the retailer expects a “potential decline” in home consumption impacting the retail stores, as consumers venture back to restaurants during the summer months, or change their shopping habits.
Looking ahead, the impact of Covid-19 in the short to medium term remains uncertain with trading conditions expected to remain challenging. Across all regions, the third quarter is expected to be the most impacted as people return to normality and no longer need to “wholly” depend on local grocery stores.