(Spain) El Corte Inglés emerges from losses after the pandemic and earns 120 million, but still has not regained its pre-pandemic sales pace

El Corte Inglés has closed its 2021 financial year (March to February) with a net profit of 120 million compared to the losses recorded last year, which amounted to almost 3 billion euros after impairing 2.5 billion due to the impact of the pandemic in what was the first negative result in its history.

The department store group announced in a press release that its consolidated turnover was 12,508 million euros, an increase of 22% compared to the previous year.

A year earlier it saw its revenues fall by 31% to 10.5 billion euros. The worst part was borne by its star area, retail, which fell by 19%, in line with the lower income derived from shopping tourism.

Now it is precisely the retail unit that is the driving force, with revenues of 11.3 billion euros. Fashion has been the main contributor to this growth, with a 48.8% increase to 4.09 billion euros.

Despite the good pace, overall figures are still far from pre-pandemic levels. Specifically, 18% below 2019.

The company specifies that the improvement is due to the good evolution of the business, the optimisation of costs and the successes in management, which has allowed it to recover the path of growth and return to profits.

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A recovery that has come despite “all the difficulties caused by the successive variants of covid, the poor recovery in tourism, the complex economic context and an unprecedented rise in the price of energy”, according to the company.

In this way, El Corte Inglés has achieved a gross profit of 3,896 million euros, an increase of 30.5% compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, ebitda rose to 804 million euros (756 million more than the previous year).

Sales of household and electrical appliances, one of the divisions that best withstood the impact of the pandemic, increased by 11.3% to 1,302 million euros. The culture and leisure division advanced by 11.5% to 2,145 million euros.

In the food division, the exceptional momentum experienced by the sector in 2020 was corrected, bringing turnover to 2,648 million euros, representing a slight decline of 4.8%.

For its part, the insurance division closed 2021 with a turnover of 217 million euros, 2.8% more than the previous year, while Viajes El Corte Inglés, which came from a disastrous year, recorded 984 million euros.

On the other hand, the group has announced the settlement of the first bond issue for 600 million euros and, in March 2022, the refinancing for a maximum aggregate amount of 2,600 million euros.

This has resulted in a reduction in debt, which at year-end stood at 3,514 million euros, as a result of the higher operating cash flow. Following the signing of the agreement with Mutua, debt stands at 2,555 million euros, the lowest level in the last 15 years.