LISBON, April 28 (Reuters) - Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins on Wednesday said first-quarter net profit jumped by two-thirds to 58 million euros as key market Poland drove a modest rise in sales during pandemic-related lockdowns there and at home.
However, Portugal’s second-largest retailer warned that there was still uncertainty over possible further restrictions in the countries in which it operates and their effect on consumer behaviour.
It said it planned to increase investment to 700 million euros ($845.60 million) this year from 470 million in 2020, 60% of which would be in Poland where its Biedronka unit is the largest food retailer, but again warned that local restrictions could impact the plan.
Sales in the January-March period rose 1.5% from the year earlier period to 4.8 billion euros, with a 3.9% rise in Poland offsetting a 0.8% drop at its main domestic supermarket chain Pingo Doce.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 4% to 322 million euros in the period.
The company’s total EBITDA margin - a key measure of profitability - edged up to 6.7% from 6.6% a year earlier, although Biedronka’s margin slipped to 8.4% from 8.5%.
Portugal was in lockdown for most of the quarter, from mid-January until mid-March, while Poland implemented nationwide restrictions in mid-March.
Food retail stores in Portugal were not allowed to sell non-food products nor to advertise promotional campaigns, and had to close at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. at weekends.
$1 = 0.8278 euros By Patrícia Vicente Rua, Editing by Andrei Khalip, Kirsten Donovan