CEBU-BASED Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) has tapered its 2021 net loss to P318.10 million, an improvement of 29.2 percent from the P449.60 million net loss in 2020.

In a disclosure to the local bourse on April 13, 2022, the Gaisano-led company said its net sales for the year reached P31.21 billion, almost the same level as last year’s, as quarantine restrictions continued to be enforced and Typhoon Odette (Rai) greatly affected some regions in the country in the latter part of the year.

Blended same-store sales thus declined in 2021 by five percent, but the contraction was at a slower pace than the prior year. Notwithstanding the disruptions caused by the typhoon, MRSGI stores in the Visayas demonstrated resilience as their sales generally improved in subsequent months.

Both food retail and general merchandise businesses were flattish versus the same period last year.

“Despite the ease of mobility in the latter part of the year, stringent quarantine measures were reimplemented due to the increase in Covid-19 cases across the country, while consumers continued to prune expenses to the bare essentials,” the company said.

But the company’s sales from its e-commerce business more than doubled in 2021 on the back of the five times growth of MRSGI’s own online platform.

MRSGI registered an operating income of P84.99 million this year, a reversal of the P302.52 million in losses in 2020, following the decline in operating expenses. In 2021, MRSGI cut its operating expenses by 12 percent to P5.96 billion from P6.78 billion last year.

Omni-channel strategy

Meanwhile, the company continues to invest resources in its omnichannel strategy to boost its physical and digital presence. The firm’s e-commerce platform, shopmetro.ph, carried out a series of enhancements for more convenient shopping experience.

These upgrades include the dynamic search bar, shopping list function, “one basket” feature, as well as the upcoming integration of the Metro Rewards Club program into the Metro online store. Alongside its online store, MRSGI also offers mobile commerce with its Call-Text Viber service and forges strategic partnerships with e-commerce enablers such as online grocers and last-mile logistics providers.

As the country further reopens, MRSGI remains optimistic about the recovery of brick-and-mortar stores. It affirms its commitment to expand its network, particularly in the underserved areas and innovate the look and feel of its physical stores. (PR)