June 17, 2020 / 6:04 PM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-France's FNAC Darty expects operating loss due to COVID-19

(Adds details on results, shop closures)

June 17 (Reuters) - French retailer FNAC Darty said on Wednesday it expected to post a loss in first-half core earnings as the COVID-19 related lockdowns had forced it to close all its shops from mid-March.

The company expects current operating profit for the first six months to decline by 100 million to 120 million euros ($112 million-135 million) compared with 46 million euros posted in the same period last year.

FNAC Darty added it estimated revenue loss related to the coronavirus crisis of 400 million euros at the end of May.

The French books, music and electrical equipment retailer said all its shops were closed during the lockdown period in April. It started gradually reopening them at the beginning of May.

As a result, the group’s January-May like-for-like revenue was down 16.4% year-on-year at 2.11 billion euros, with a 52% revenue drop in April alone.

This decline was partially mitigated by e-commerce, the company said, as April online sales almost tripled compared to 2019.

May revenue slipped 1.3% like-for-like, recovering some ground due to solid in-store performance following the reopening on May 11.

The forecasts exclude a negative 20 million euro impact from the integration of the Nature & Decouvertes beauty products chain acquisition last year, FNAC added. ($1 = 0.8916 euros) (Reporting by Charles Regnier; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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