The Gaisano-led Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. (MRSGI) said it trimmed its 2021 net loss to P318.10 million, an improvement of 29.2% from the P449.60 million net loss in 2020, as e-commerce sales soared.
Net sales were flat at P31.21 billion as quarantine restrictions continued to be enforced to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases and Typhoon Odette greatly affected some regions in the country in the latter part of the year.
Blended same store sales decelerated, declining in 2021 by only 5%. Sales, however, improved in recent months.
E-commerce sales, on the other hand, more than doubled in 2021. The company's e-commerce platform, shopmetro.ph, carried out a series of enhancements for more convenient shopping experience. Among these upgrades are the dynamic search bar, shopping list function and “one basket” feature. The rewards program will soon be integrated into this platform.
MRSGI also offers mobile commerce with its Call-Text-Viber (CTV) service and forges strategic partnerships with e-commerce enablers such as online grocers and last-mile logistics providers.
The company reported an operating income of P84.99 million, a reversal of the P302.52 million loss in 2020, following the decline in operating expenses.
The company's operating costs decreased for two consecutive years as a result of its ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and implement cost saving measures. In 2021, MRSGI cut its operating expenses by 12% to P5.96 billion from P6.78 billion in the previous year.
The company also said it managed to maintain a positive EBITDA in 2021 at P1.22 billion, while its cash reserves amounting to P1.67 billion was sufficient to cover its current debt. To enhance shareholder value and establish an Executive Stock Option Plan, the board of directors has approved the implementation of a share buyback program of up to P300 million.
As the country further reopens, MRSGI said it was optimistic on the recovery of brick-and-mortar stores.
The company completed the rebuilding of its flagship store Metro Ayala Cebu Department Store and reopened its doors to the public in 2021. Four new stores were also opened — Metro Danao Supermarket and Department Store, Metro Tacloban Department Store, and Metro Sum-ag Supermarket. (Ventures Cebu from PR)