July 27, 2016 / 6:21 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Spanish grocer DIA signals turnaround in home market

(Recasts with like-for-like sales)

MADRID, July 27 (Reuters) - Spanish discount grocer DIA’s like-for-like sales grew in the second quarter in all the countries it operates in, it said on Wednesday, signalling a long-awaited turnaround in its home market.

Like-for-like sales, which strip out acquisitions to enable comparisons, had fallen every quarter for the past three years in DIA’s main Iberia market, encompassing Spain and Portugal.

They grew 1.7 percent in the April to June period compared with a year earlier, DIA said.

In spite of an economic recovery in Spain since mid-2103, DIA struggled as a consumer spending rebound pushed shoppers to seek out other brands. As well as buying stores from rival chains it has since upgraded many of its shops and revamped its offering to include more fresh foods, in a bid to lure back consumers that is finally paying off.

“In the second quarter of 2016 sales growth accelerated in all markets, with positive like-for-like sales registered in all countries in the second quarter as well as the first half of the year,” DIA said in a statement.

In the first three months of the year, like-for-like sales in Iberia, which provides about two thirds of its revenue, had dropped 0.3 percent from the same period in 2015.

DIA said overall net sales dropped 2.3 percent in the first half of the year to 4.2 billion euros ($4.6 billion), in line with forecasts.

The supermarket group also operates in countries such as Argentina and Brazil, where depreciating currencies have hurt earnings when converted into euros. Without the currency swings, net sales would have risen 10.7 percent, DIA said.

DIA said adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 0.4 percent to 267 million euros in the January to June period from a year earlier, also in line with analysts’ forecasts. ($1 = 0.9095 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White, editing by Susan Thomas)

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