PUREGOLD Price Club, Inc. reported that its consolidated net income increased by 1.4% to P8.18 billion last year, driven by improvements in gross margins and sustained expense management.

The company said in a disclosure on Wednesday that the growth was also due to the reduction in corporate income tax with the implementation of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.

In its unaudited financial statement, consolidated net sales decreased by 2.7% to P164.1 billion in 2021 from P168.6 billion previously.

“The decrease in net sales was primarily driven by a decline in customer’s visits particularly for the Puregold stores, with the government implementing health protocols in 2021 and people cautious of contracting the virus,” the company said.

Meanwhile, consolidated gross profit increased by 3.2% to P30.1 billion in 2021 from P29.2 billion, driven by “strong and continuing suppliers’ support through trade discounts in the form of rebates and conditional discounts granted during the year.”

In 2021, operating income narrowly increased by 1.7% to P3.21 billion from P3.15 billion in 2020.

“With the lockdown restrictions starting to loosen up, some tenants resumed operations which resulted in an increase in rent income,” Puregold said.

Operating expenses went up by 7.4% to P20.4 billion from P18.9 billion due to the increase in operating costs from newly opened stores and old stores.

Puregold added that operating expenses in the prior period were partly lower because of the strict lockdown implemented in the first half of 2020.

The company is primarily involved in the business of trading goods such as consumer products on a wholesale and retail basis.

It also owns Entenso Equities, Inc., which is the holding company for two companies, namely: Ayagold Retailers, Inc. and San Roque Supermarkets.

By the end of 2020, its store network covered 244 hypermarkets, 100 supermarkets, 31 minimarts, 20 warehouse clubs, 46 Quick Service Restaurants, two Merkado branches, and 30 San Roque supermarkets, for a total of 501 stores all over the country.

At the stock exchange, Puregold shares dropped by 45 centavos or 1.29% to close at P34.40. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson