MADRID, July 25 (Reuters) - Spanish department store chain El Corte Ingles on Wednesday posted a 7.4 percent rise in full-year core profit to 1.054 billion euros ($1.23 billion), marking four consecutive years of improved results.
Revenue for the privately-owned company, which closes its financial year after the February sales and traditionally reports annual earnings during the summer, rose 2.8 percent to 15.935 billion euros though it remained far below the 17.9 billion recorded in 2007 before the economic crisis.
El Corte Ingles, one of the biggest European department stores in terms of sales and one of the largest employers in Spain, is viewed as a bellwether of the country’s economy.
It has seen its business model threatened by online retailers who have made inroads into an increasingly competitive market in recent years.
It reported growth in its department stores, travel business and supermarkets but its home improvement stores, opticians and insurance business made losses.
Net profit increased by 25 percent to 202 million euros, driven by a 15 million euro drop in servicing costs.
Last month the company appointed Jesus Nuno de la Rosa as president in an effort to quell a long-running battle between majority shareholders for control of the company.
Privately owned since being founded in the 1930s, three years ago El Corte Ingles sold 10 percent of its capital to the Qatari fund Primefin in exchange for a 1 billion euro loan. ($1 = 0.8562 euros) (Reporting by Sam Edwards Editing by Julien Toyer/David Evans)