Lowered customer traffic due to quarantine protocols and continued customer prioritization of purchases to essential goods heavily impacted the performance of Cebu-based retailer Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. (PSE: MRSGI).
The company reported a net loss of PhP126.47 million for the first three-months of 2021, a reversal of the PhP7.98 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% contraction in revenue to PhP6.95 billion against the PhP8.57 billion registered in the comparable period last year, which was minimally affected by the pandemic. MRSGI’s total food retail business declined by 14.7%, while general merchandise business decreased by 30.2% year-on-year. Blended same store sales dipped by 21.4% over the same period last year.
Meanwhile, operating expenses fell by 19.1% to PhP1.48 billion from its year-ago level of PhP1.83 billion brought about by the increased efficiency and continuous cost reduction and saving measures implemented by the Company.
In spite of the challenges imposed by this pandemic, MRSGI remains well-grounded as EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation & amortization) as of end March 31, 2021 still stood at a positive position of PhP236.74 million; while the Company’s balance sheet remained solid with cash reserves of PhP960.35 million.
The Company’s thrust to expand its store network into underserved communities plays a pivotal role in its strategy. After capping 2020 with fifty-six (56) stores, MRSGI has since opened three more stores in the provinces of Cebu and Leyte, it likewise fully re-opened its flagship Metro Ayala Center Cebu – Department Store; bringing its current store network to sixty (60) stores. Moreover, the Company is set to open another store located in Bacolod on June 2021.
MRSGI will likewise pursue a multi-pronged growth plan that aims to further grow its business through the expansion of its e-commerce program, structure MRSGI as an agile organization, and develop new channels, among others.
“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.