SUPERMARKET chain Mercadona has announced profits of €727 million for 2020, a 17% rise on the previous year.

The Valencian-based national retailer unveiled the figure today(April 20).

It said that the profits would have been higher but for spending €200 million on COVID-safety measures for its staff and customers.

That included buying masks, gloves, and protective glasses in addition to erecting screens at check-outs.

Sales figures for 2020 reached €26.9 billion, up by 5.5% on the previous year, as pandemic restrictions boosted supermarket demand from people unable to go out for meals.

Mercadona president, Juan Roig, said that he expected sales to rise by an additional 3.7% this year.

“We have created an extra 5,000 jobs to create a 95,000-strong workforce and we will be increasing that by a further 1,600 in 2021,” stated Roig.

Mercadona still has the largest share of Spain’s supermarket customers, but has seen the gap narrow largely to the multinational discounters Lidl and Aldi.

Commenting on the future of the Spanish economy, Juan Roig, said: “Post-pandemic growth will happen if we make sure that the entrepreneurial spirit is maintained.”

He also emphasised that to get better services, everybody has to pay their fair share of tax.

“If we want public services, universal justice and health and universal training, we must pay taxes. We are proud to pay tax.”

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