(Adds details of earnings)
SAO PAULO, April 27 GPA SA, Brazil's
biggest retailer, on Thursday reported a swing to a profit in
the first quarter as easing inflation helped the profitability
of food sales and ongoing job cuts kept a lid on costs.
Net income was 215 million reais ($68 million) in the first
quarter, compared with a net loss of 157 million reais a year
ago, according to a securities filing.
Monthly inflation in the quarter averaged about a third of
the pace a year earlier, helping GPA boost the gross margin of
its Pao de Açucar and Extra supermarkets to 27.3 percent, the
highest level since the end of 2015.
About 7,000 job cuts at those chains helped to reduce
selling and administrative costs for the so-called Multivarejo
division by 1 percent, compared with growth of 7 percent last
GPA's cash-and-carry wholesaler Assai also continued to
provide profitable growth, as a dozen new stores and more demand
from bargain-hunting families helped boost sales by 29 percent
and operating profit by 75 percent.
The group's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortization, a gauge of operating profit, rose 39 percent
from a year earlier to 515 million reais, beating an average
estimate of 353 million reais from analysts surveyed by Reuters.
($1 = 3.18 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Brad Haynes and Alberto Alerigi Jr; Editing by
Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)