Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. Its net loss fell to P318.1 million last year, or 29.2% from the previous year’s P449.60-million loss, as epidemic restrictions easily increased sales.
“Despite being disrupted by the typhoon, Metro Retail Stores in Visayas have shown resilience as their sales have generally improved over the coming months. Both food retail and general merchandise businesses were flat compared to the same period last year, ”the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Despite ease of movement towards the end of the year, strict quarantine measures were re-enforced due to an increase in COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) cases across the country, while consumers continue to cut costs for empty essentials,” it added.
Net sales for 2021 reached P31.21 billion, which the company said was “almost the same level” compared to the previous year, when sales of the same store in the mix decreased by 5%, but at a slower pace than the previous year.
Meanwhile, sales of its e-commerce business more than doubled in 2021 on the back of growth from online platforms. No specific statistics were released.
Last year’s operating income, P84.99 million, was in stark contrast to the previous year’s P302.52-million loss due to declining operating expenses.
Metro Retail Stores said its operating costs have been reduced for two consecutive years as a result of ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and implement cost-saving measures.
In 2021, the company reduced its operating costs by 12.1% from P6.78 billion to P5.96 billion.
EBITDA before interest, tax, depreciation and repayment (EBITDA) was P1.22 billion last year, with cash reserves of P1.67 billion to cover the current debt.
The company’s board of directors has approved the implementation of a share buyback program of up to P300 million to increase shareholder value and establish an executive stock alternative plan.
Metro Retail Stores says it continues to invest resources in its omni-channel strategy to enhance its physical and digital presence.
It has improved its e-commerce platform, shopmetro.ph, to enhance the shopping experience of customers.
“These upgrades include dynamic search bars, shopping list functions, the ‘One Basket’ feature, as well as the upcoming integration of the Metro Rewards Club program into the Metro Online Store,” the company said.
In addition to its online stores, Metro Retail Stores also offers mobile commerce with its Call-TextViber (CTV) services and partners with e-commerce facilitators such as online grocers and last-mile logistics providers.
“As the country reopens, Metro retail stores are optimistic about the recovery of the brick-and-mortar store. The company is committed to expanding its network, especially in underdeveloped areas, and to innovate the look and feel of its physical stores, ”it said.
In 2021, the company’s flagship store Metro Ayala Cebu Department Store completed its renovation and reopened its doors to the public, while four new stores were added, including Metro Danao Supermarket and Department Store, Metro Tacloban Department Store and Metro Sam-AG Supermarket.
Shares of Metro Retail Store were unchanged at P1.34 on the stock exchange on Wednesday. – Luisa Maria Jacinta c. Jackson