Dutch retailer Sligro has suggested that the depressed economic environment represents a “new reality” and, with little chance of improved conditions, the company is focused on cutting its cost base to drive profits.

“We look upon the present economic climate as the new reality, with little prospect of change. That means continuing pressure on sales and fierce competition. In this trading environment, our efforts continue to focus on trimming our cost base accordingly. We are fortunate in still having plenty of scope for progress in that area,” Sligro said in a trading update this morning (18 July).

Sligro’s first-half net profit rose 2.3% to EUR26m (US$34m), the company revealed. Gains were driven by a lift in sales, which rose 1.5%, and the benefit of cost cutting initiatives. These factors more than offset an increase in pension costs of EUR2m.

Commenting on the result, CEO Koen Slippens said that against a backdrop of “low consumer confidence and the general state of the economy” Sligro “can hardly complain about the modest increase in profits”.

Sligro did not provide a full-year sales or profit guidance range.