UPDATE 1-Spanish retailer DIA halves net loss year after takeover

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MADRID, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Spanish retailer DIA more than halved its net loss in the first half from a year earlier, it said on Thursday, saying a trend of people spending more in its neighbourhood shops during lockdown was continuing as restrictions eased.

The net loss totalled 187.7 million euros ($223.5 million), compared with 418.7 million euros in the same period of 2019 when Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman won control of the floundering group.

DIA’s bargain offerings helped it build market share when Spain’s economy dived after the 2008 financial crisis, but it lost out to rivals who invested more in their stores as a return to economic growth put more money in people’s pockets.

Like-for-like sales, a key indicator for retailers, picked up before people’s movement was restricted and continued to rise afterwards, climbing 10% in June and 8% in July, DIA said.

Confined people ate more at home, and the size of their shopping baskets swelled 25.7% on average during the period.

DIA said it was impossible to estimate the potential impact of the pandemic, citing its potential to affect sales, production volumes and supply and distribution chains as well as businesses, consumers, capital markets and the overall economy.

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