MAJOR Spanish department store chain, El Corte Ingles, says that spending is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, after they took a big financial hit last year.

The retailer reported a net loss of almost €3 billion last year due to the health crisis, but said that sales over the first three months of 2021 were ‘approaching’ 2019 levels.

The overwhelming factor behind the losses was a write-down of physical assets like stores, as customers moved to online shopping.

Without the write-down, the company says it would still have suffered a €445 million loss.

Due to lockdowns, reduced shopping hours, and virtually no tourists, El Corte Ingles revenues fell by nearly a third to €10.43 billion.

Online sales sales more than doubled and represented 17.3% of overall sales, which is very much in keeping with the rest of Spain’s retail sector.

Last February, the retailer announced plans for up to 3,500 job cuts through voluntary redundancy.

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