SUPERMARKET sales in Panama have fallen 3.1%, and the industry continues to face challenges arising from the extension of the price control program wage increases, and the opening of new stores.
El Rey Holdings Corp., sales are down 2.7% reflected in the financial statements for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2016.
This business conglomerate which owns supermarket chains Rey, Romero, Mr. Price and
Metro Plus convenience stores says in its latest financial report that its liquidity deteriorated during that quarter, with a deficit of $78.3 million as of Dec. 31, compared with $60.2 million on Sep. 30, 2016.
However , it notes that cash and bank deposits increased from $6 million to $17.4 million.
In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017, the group's net sales were reported at $161.3 million, representing a decrease of 14.8 percent ($28 million) compared to the $189.3 million in sales in the same quarter last year.
The decrease in sales was due in large part to the change in a technology system that is part of the growth process designed by this business consortium for the coming years. The change took about eight months, and often left stores understocked.
Although the impact on sales was 14.8 percent, compared to the same period last year, "the
company is confident that this new system will provide a worldclass information and technology
infrastructure to accompany the future expansion of the business said a consortium report.
The consortium's 72 stores serve an average of 4 million customers a month.
It says in the report that it will continue to work to counteract the effects of the last increase in the minimum wage, introduced in January 2016, which caused a significant increase in labor expenditures.
It also plans to open seven new stores in 2017.