METRO Retail Stores Group, Inc. incurred a loss of P84.66 million in the first semester as revenues faltered because of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on operations.

On Monday, the listed retailer said the reversal from its profit of P375.94 million a year ago was mainly due to a decline in revenues, as well as changes in accounting standards on leases. Excluding additional charges from the lease standards change, it would have recorded a profit of P41.9 million.

The company posted sales of P15.32 billion between January and June, down 8.4%.

Its general merchandise sales dropped by 46.5%, while its food retail business reported an 11.3% sales growth due to “buoyed-up demand and sustained supermarket operations,” according to Metro Retail President and Chief Operating Officer Manuel Luis C. Alberto.

Reduced consumer spending in the second quarter impacted its blended same-store sales, which contracted by 13.6% in the first half.

Metro Retail has trimmed its operating expenses by 8.9%. Its earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) stood at P1.025 billion in the period.

In April, the Cebu-based supermarket operator launched its shopper service for customers ordering online. “This service has been launched in selected stores, and will be rolled out to the entire network in the coming months,” it said.

“Metro counts on a stronger digital presence, solid supermarket sales and a robust liquidity position to enhance its performance in the post-COVID era,” it said.

On Monday, shares in Metro Retail fell by 1.35% to close at P1.46 each. — Adam J. Ang