El Corte Ingles store in Bilbao, Spain. Shutterstock.
Spanish department store chain El Corte Ingles said on Friday retail sales in the first quarter were approaching 2019′s levels and reported deep losses in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the vaccine rollout has gathered speed and restrictions were gradually eased in Spain, El Corte Ingles said it “is in a position to report that retail sales are trending in line with expectations, at close to 2019 levels, despite the lingering effects of the pandemic.”
One of Europe’s largest department stores in terms of sales, El Corte Ingles said it booked a net loss of 2.95 billion euros ($3.58 billion) in 2020, mainly due to a 2.5 billion euro writedown of its assets as consumers move from brick and mortar stores towards online sales.
As a result of various lockdowns, restrictions on store opening hours and the absence of tourists, the privately-held group’s revenue fell by almost a third to 10.43 billion euros, even though online sales more than doubled and represented 17.3 percent of overall sales.
Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Nathan Allen and David Evans