COMPANIES led by businessman Lucio L. Co reported strong profit growth in the first quarter, with his retail holding firm Cosco Capital, Inc. posting a 10.9% increase in consolidated net income to P2.7 billion.

In a disclosure on Monday, Cosco Capital said its consolidated revenues were up by 2.8% to P40.68 billion from P39.57 billion in the same period of 2021.

“The company continued to benefit by way of a better bottom line results from a combination of the gross margin enhancements thru stronger suppliers supports, sustained strategic cost and expense management as well as the income tax savings from the implementation of the CREATE Law,” it said, referring to Republic Act No. 11534, or Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.

The group’s grocery retailing businesses, Puregold Price Club, Inc. and S&R Membership Shopping Club, contributed 68% to the total core net income.

During the first quarter, the grocery retail segment’s net income grew 6.5% to P2.15 billion from improvements in gross profit margins and cost reduction measures.

Consolidated revenues also rose by 2.1% to P38.5 billion, driven by an increase in customer traffic.

“This was fueled by the company’s continuous organic expansion of grocery retail outlets, diligent cost management and sustained strong consumer demand,” Puregold said in a disclosure.

Consolidated net sales increased 2.1% to P38.51 billion. The group opened five new Puregold stores in the first quarter of 2022.

As of end-March, the group had a total of 504 grocery retail stores nationwide. These include 435 Puregold stores, 22 S&R membership shopping warehouses, and 47 S&R New York Style quick service restaurants.

Meanwhile, Cosco Capital’s liquor distribution business contributed 17% to the total profit of the group.

The Keepers Holdings, Inc. reported that its consolidated net income jumped 34.3% to P333.5 million, resulting from strong sales performance and cost control of its distribution, marketing and promotion expenses.

The company said consolidated revenues grew 23.3% to P2.17 billion on the back of a 17% growth in the volume of cases sold totaling more than 831,000 for the first quarter.

“This was driven principally by the continued robust performance of Alfonso, the leading imported brandy in the market, which has already surpassed its pre-pandemic levels despite some challenges brought by the continuing impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns experienced during the year,” The Keepers Holdings said in a disclosure.

Cosco Capital’s commercial real estate segment, which contributed 14% to total earnings, posted net income growth of 13.3% to P227 million for the period from P200 million in the same period in 2021.

The company said the increase was due to a combination of strategic cost efficiencies in the management of its cost of services as well as operating expenses.

“The real estate group continued to expand its real estate assets portfolio through acquisitions of additional land banking assets for future development and initiated the development of two commercial assets to be completed during the year,” Cosco added.

Lastly, the group’s specialty retailing segment, Office Warehouse, Inc., accounted for 1% of its total net income.

The Office Warehouse’s net income slightly dropped to P16 million from P18 million and revenues also decreased by 8% to P390 million amid lockdown restrictions.

At the stock exchange, Cosco Capital shares gained by 11 centavos or 2.37% to P4.75 on Monday. Puregold shares rose by P0.85 or 2.69% to finish at 32.50 apiece.

Shares in The Keepers Holdings slipped a centavo or 0.86% to P1.15 each. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson