El Corte Inglés earned 120 million euros in the 2021 financial year (March 2021 to February 2022) and returns to the path of profits after the losses of 2,945 million in 2020 caused by the impact of the pandemic on the business.

Invoicing increased by 22% in the period, to 12,508 million, with a prominent role for retail and fashion, whose sales increased by almost 50% (4,900 million), the company has reported.

Gross operating profit (ebitda) rose to 804 million (705 million more than in the previous year), of which 700 million came from retail.

In the first quarter of the 2022 academic year (March to May), department stores have reported that business figures are already above those of the same pre-pandemic period, in 2019.

The company chaired by Marta Álvarez has highlighted cost optimization and business management as factors for a return to profit “despite all the difficulties caused by the successive variants of covid, the scant recovery in tourism, the complex context economy and an unprecedented rise in energy prices,” he adds.

Online sales also rose in the year and now represent 12.3% of the total business volume of department stores.

El Corte Inglés highlights in a note the “positive evolution” of the business and underlines the planning carried out to guarantee the availability of inventory, especially in the Christmas season, as well as the “efficient negotiation with suppliers, better planning of purchases, and limited exposure to acquisitions in Asia.”

Other areas such as Travel and Insurance also registered significant improvements, with sales of 984 million (218.6% more than in 2020) and 217 million (2.8% more), respectively.

On the other hand, sales fell in the food area by 4.8%, to 2,648 million. The company explains it by correcting the “exceptional moment that the sector experienced in 2020”.

El Corte Inglés recalls other milestones during the year, such as the settlement of the first bond issue for an amount of 600 million and the refinancing in March for a maximum aggregate amount of 2,600 million.

Likewise, and thanks to the higher operating cash flow in the year, the debt was reduced to 3,514 million at closing.

After the recent signing of the agreement with Mutua, the group’s debt has fallen again to 2,555 million euros, the lowest level in the last 15 years.

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