Poland may extend a zero VAT rate on food staples into 2024 if inflation persists, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday. Poland slashed taxes on a long list of products, from fuel to fertiliser, to help consumers cope with surging inflation, but it had to return to higher taxes on gasoline this year, in line with European Commission rules. However, Brussels has allowed VAT on food staples to be kept at zero. While inflation slowed to 14.7% in April – from 16.1% in March – according to a flash estimate from the statistics office, it remains a key political issue in the run-up to a general election this year, reports Reuters. “If inflation doesn’t fall very significantly, it’s not excluded that, in the fourth quarter of this year, we will make a decision to extend this relief for the next year,” Morawiecki told a news conference. The decision will be made when inflation data for this year and forecasts for 2024 become available, the prime minister said, adding that the measure costs around ten billion zlotys ($2.41 billion) a year in lost budget income.
Spanish cooperative Eroski achieved a net profit of €63.9 million in 2022 (-39%, year on year) and an operating profit of €204 million (+10%), the company noted in a statement, reports ESMmagazine.com. Gross sales for the year increased by over 7%, to €5.5 billion, boosted by higher pricing due to inflation (12%). A 7% increase in the turnover of private-label products contributed significantly to sales, although volume dropped by 2% as a result of the reduction in the size of the average shopping basket. EBITDA exceeded €280 million as a result of the implementation of efficiency measures in all processes, mitigating the effect of inflation on consumers, while the company’s financial debt was reduced by €44 million, to €909 million.
Sales growth at French retailer Groupe Casino slowed in the first quarter, the company noted, dragged down by its supermarkets and hypermarkets in its core French market. Casino, which also controls Brazil’s Grupo Pão de Açúcar, posted first-quarter sales of €5.436 billion. On a same-store basis and excluding acquisitions, currency effects, and revenue on fuel, sales rose by 1.0% in the first quarter, compared to a 4.4% increase in the fourth quarter of 2022. Casino, headed and controlled by veteran entrepreneur Jean-Charles Naouri, is currently striving to find a way out of its financial challenges, facing two rivalling combination offers for parts of the group.
Read More: Weekly Round-Up ... 3 May 2023