Israel's two leading retailers, Super-Sol and Blue Square Israel, reported solid first quarter financial results on Tuesday, May 15, despite a sharp slowdown in economic growth.
Super-Sol had net profit of 40 million shekels ($9.63 million), or 0.20 shekel per share, in the quarter ended March 31 compared with a net profit of 41 million shekels, or 0.20 shekel per share, a year earlier. The 2000 first quarter, however, included a one-time capital gain of 15 million shekels.
Revenues in the quarter rose to 1.48 billion shekels from 1.36 billion a year ago, largely reflecting the opening of three new supermarkets, the company said. But same-store sales dipped 3.7 percent during the quarter due to the opening of the new stores and those by its competitors, Super-Sol said in a statement.
Chief executive Amiaz Sagis said the company will grow further with two more stores opening in the second quarter.
Rival Blue Square posted revenues of 1.3 billion shekels in the first quarter, up from 1.2 billion shekels in the same period of 2000, reflecting the partial contribution of the Passover holiday, which began in early April. In 2000, Passover sales occurred in the second quarter.
Net profit was 30.4 million shekels, or 0.79 shekel per share, on a proforma basis in the January-March period, from 23.8 million shekels, or 0.62 shekel per share, a year earlier.
Blue Square said the 2000 results included a one-time capital gain of 18.8 million shekels.
"The first quarter was a solid beginning to what promises to be another year of growth and strategic progress," Blue Square president and CEO Yoram Dar said in a statement. "Despite the continued market slowdown, we achieved top-line growth and across the board margin...improvement."
The supermarket chain, with 168 stores nationwide, said earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 17.2 percent from a year earlier to 108 million shekels.
Super-Sol said EBITDA in the first quarter rose 14.4 percent to 116 million shekels. Its shares were 1.0 percent higher at 15.34 shekels, while Blue Square was up 3.7 percent at 59.50 shekels, in afternoon trading in Tel Aviv. ― (Reuters, Jerusalem)
© Reuters 2001
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