(Adds detail, pandemic pushing back stores opening)
ATHENS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Greek retailer Jumbo on Tuesday posted a 22% drop in first-half net profit as COVID-19 restrictions hurt activities in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria.
Jumbo operates 52 stores in Greece and another 28 in Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus. A two-month lockdown in Greece and Cyprus and restrictions in Romania and Bulgaria forced it to discard goods purchased for the Easter season or offer big discounts, hitting profit margins, it said.
The retailer expects margins to improve in the third quarter and during the Christmas season.
Jumbo said net profit came in at 49.8 million euros ($59.15 million) in the six months to end June, down from 64 million euros in the same period last year.
Sales dropped 16.8% to 278.8 million euros.
The new coronavirus pandemic has pushed back the opening of three new stores to the last quarter of 2021 instead of this year, it added. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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