DIA has reported net sales growth of 4.1% for 2012 (+5.2% excluding currency effect), and adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.6% (+9.4% ex. currency effect)
Tough comparatives in Q4
Net sales growth in the fourth quarter was 2.4% (+4.4% ex. currency effect). A tough comparison in Q4 2011, weak business conditions in Turkey and depreciation in the Brazilian and Argentine currencies meant a lower growth rate for adjusted EBITDA in comparison with previous quarters.
In China, DIA discontinued its activities in Beijing in 2012; 2011 figures have also been adjusted accordingly. Shanghai is now the focus and the aim is to accelerate expansion here.
Despite a negative calendar effect and deteriorating economic conditions, Spain performed better than Portugal in terms of like-for-like sales growth in the quarter. It was a difficult year in Turkey, due to the tough competitive environment, new hard discount openings and price competition. In a Spanish press report, Mr Currás said the retailer was looking at various possibilities regarding the Turkish business.
Greater focus on Latin America
Mr Currás highlighted the effort and resources devoted to this region in 2012, particularly to Brazil, and said this will continue in 2013. The LatAm countries, and Iberia, now represent two thirds of total investment, signalling their importance to the retailer. Gross sales under banner were up 15.9% in the fourth quarter, supported by momentum in Brazil and Argentina (28% and 35% increases respectively, at constant currency). Half of the planned €350m investment this year will be devoted to expansion, and Brazil will see the largest proportion of capital expenditure on store openings.
2013 priorities: Brazil, Spain
Looking at the prospects for this year, Ricardo Currás is in confident mood: "For 2013, despite the challenging scenario existing in some markets, we remain optimistic about our ability to continue to grow the business and meet market expectations...we believe we will be able to resolve any difficulties by concentrating our investment efforts in our stronger regions. DIA's priorities in 2013 will be the acceleration of openings in Brazil and reinforcing the company's proximity profile in Spain with the new complementary formats."
Schlecker will be 'something different'
The acquisition of the Schlecker business in Iberia was completed at the start of February. Speaking this morning, Mr Currás said the group wanted Schlecker to be something different to DIA - a complementary format. The banner name will change, and DIA will improve the range, with a particular focus on private label. The goal is to increase private label from around 14-18% of sales to between 20% and 30%.