Ljubljana, 23 August (STA) - The group around Slovenia's leading retailer Mercator reported on Tuesday a EUR 18.52m net profit for the first half of 2011, a 4.9% increase year-on-year. Revenues increased by 6.1% to EUR 1.42bn, exceeding plans by 48.1%.
Mercator's supervisors moreover established today that the company's operations continue to be affected by the consequences of the economic crisis.
"In the first six months all of Mercator's markets saw an increase in the number of unemployed, while dearer raw materials had a negative impact on consumption. Also still noticeable is an increase in default on payments and loan activity by banks remains below pre-crisis levels," the press release says.
Mercator's measures included lowering the prices of more than 2,000 products, which required an investment of almost EUR 12m in this period.
The Mercator group spent a total of EUR 67.78m on investments in the fist six months of the year, mostly for the development of its retail network. The surface area of the company's operations expanded by more than 31,000 square metres, almost half of which on account of expansion in Serbia.
Mercator is moreover continuing to develop supplementary services, having moved into oil retailing with the acquisition of En Plus, the company currently running 18 self-service petrol stations around Slovenia.
The Mercator group had a 23,620-strong workforce at the end of June, which put it "among the biggest employers in SE Europe". The 12,000 people employed in Slovenia also make it one of the biggest employers in Slovenia.