Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. posted a net loss of P449.59 million in 2020, reversing its net profits of P775.64 million the previous year, when earnings were negatively impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Revenues fell by 15% to P31.43 billion from P37.05 billion. In 2020, net revenues were P31.29 billion, a 15% decrease from P36.79 billion in 2019.

“Department stores were briefly suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the middle of March 2020,” the firm said in a disclosure on Monday.

“These were eventually opened, but were met with customer traffic [constraints] while neighborhood quarantine is still in place, and as customers prioritized the buying of vital products in general,” it continued.

Its food retail division increased by 1.1 percent to P24.43 billion from P24.16 billion. Meanwhile, sales from its general merchandise division dropped 45.7 percent to P6.85 billion from P12.63 billion the previous year.

Blended same-store revenue fell 19.3 percent, compared to 2.2 percent increases in 2019.

After the “temporary closing of non-essential tenants” and the extension of rental discounts to landlords that wanted to work, the business reported a 42.6 percent decrease in rental income to P146.8 million from P255.8 million.

Meanwhile, sales expenses fell 12.7% to P24.96 billion from P28.59 billion.

“Price of sales decreased slower than net sales because our food business, which has a higher cost of sales than our general merchandise business, managed to prosper during the COVID-19 epidemic, although our general merchandise business declined,” the organization said.

Operating costs for the year totaled P6.78 billion, 8.3 percent less than the P7.39 billion accumulated the previous year owing to department store disruptions.

However, the reduction in operational costs was offset by non-recurring expenses incurred when the business consolidated activities and rationalized stores and its workforce, which cost the company P270.2 million.

The year’s overall comprehensive loss was P493.87 million, a reversal of the previous year’s total comprehensive revenue of P738.71 million.

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