The Jumbo Group announced surprise profit of 10.7 million Euros increased by 53.28% after taxes for the first quarter of the new fiscal year. During this period, the turnover increased by 28.5% thus creating favourable conditions allowing the administration to proceed with the upward revision of the current fiscal year’s economic objectives. However, any revision likely to take place will be disclosed following the economic assessment of the fiscal year’s second quarter, since the first quarter is traditionally the “small” quarter of each new fiscal year. Among the financial statements’ noteworthy events is the fact that the remarkable increase in the turnover and profits was realized without increasing the points of sale, since a new store opened in Lamia and one closed in Glyfada .… According to the administration’s planning, the new stores’ contribution to the turnover is not foreseen until next summer. Subsequently, the “powerful second quarter” including December sales will be absolutely comparable to the previous quarter. Therefore, the administration may draw safe conclusions on the revision percentage of its forecasts regarding the current fiscal year. The operating income (EBITDA) increased by 34.5% and the margin improved by 104 basis points to 23.15%. In addition to the reduction of the tax rate from 32% to 29%, the net margin increased to 14.15%. The gross profit ratio increased from 46.86% to 47.93%, while the cost of items sold reduced accordingly from 53.14% to 52.07%. Apart from the increase in sales, another fact that contributed to the positive result of the first quarter is the maintenance of high profit margins in all product categories. At the shareholders’ General Meeting of 6 December, the administration will propose the distribution of a slightly increased dividend per share compared to the previous fiscal year, due to the recent distribution of free shares (2 in 10) to the shareholders. However, expressed in absolute number, this corresponds to keeping with the policy of distributing 35% of each years net earnings. The Group’s next steps include the establishment of 5 big metropolitan shops in Attica within the next 36 months and the expansion of the regional network of shops in areas with investment opportunities in the land market. The recent regulations of the State regarding the operation of superstores at a great distance from the urban areas of the province obstruct the finding of suitable areas corresponding to the development policy of Jumbo … The construction of the first superstore in the Balkans, in Sofia, continues with an aim to be completed by the end of 2007. The construction of a second store, again in Sofia, will soon begin with an aim to be also completed by the end of 2007 or within the first quarter of 2008. Moreover, more than 20 million Euros will be invested by the end of 2007 in the acquisition of land in Bulgaria and Romania, while the licence granting procedure for the construction of superstores on this land will begin at the same time.