LISTED Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. reported a P449.59-million net loss in 2020, a reversal of its P775.64-million net income in the previous year, as sales were heavily affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Revenues declined by 15% to P31.43 billion from P37.05 billion. Net sales amounted to P31.29 billion in 2020, dropping by 15% from P36.79 billion.

“In the middle of March 2020, department stores were temporarily closed brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak,” the company said in a disclosure on Monday.

“These were gradually opened, but were faced with customer traffic [constraints] since community quarantine is still in effect and as consumers prioritized the purchase of essential goods in general,” it added.

Its food retail business inched up by 1.1% to P24.43 billion from P24.16 billion. Sales from its general merchandise business, meanwhile, fell by 45.7% to P6.85 billion from P12.63 billion the previous year.

Blended same store sales also declined by 19.3% versus the 2.2% growth seen in 2019.

The company recorded a 42.6% drop in rental income to P146.8 million from P255.8 million after the “temporary closure of non-essential tenants” and the extension of rental concessions to renters who continued to operate.

Meanwhile, sales costs declined by 12.7% to P24.96 billion from P28.59 billion.

“Cost of sales declined slower than net sales since the food business which typically has a higher cost of sales compared to our general merchandise business continued to thrive despite the COVID-19 outbreak, while our general merchandise business declined,” the company said.

Operating expenses for the year amounted to P6.78 billion, 8.3% lower than the P7.39-billion incurred from the previous year due to the disrupted operations of department stores.

However, the decrease in operating expenses was offset after the company recognized non-recurring expenses as it streamlined operations and rationalized stores and its work force, costing the company some P270.2 million.

Comprehensive loss for the year totaled to P493.87 million, a reversal of its total comprehensive income of P738.71 million in 2019.

Shares of Metro Retail Stores at the stock exchange declined by 1.49% or P0.02 on Monday to close at P1.32 apiece. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte