Spanish store chain El Corte Ingles's profit plunges 18 percent
MADRID Aug 25 (Reuters) - Privately held El Corte Ingles said on Sunday its 2012 profit fell 18 percent and revenues fell nearly 8 percent, hit by a persistent recession which has taken unemployment to more than 26 percent.
Group sales at Spain's only department store chain, a bellwether for the economy with revenues at more than 1 percent of GDP, fell to 14.5 billion euros ($19.44 billion) and profit to 171 million.
Last year El Corte Ingles, which sells food, clothing and household goods, introduced a cheaper, own-brand range of food.
Other food retailers have been quicker to implement price-cutting strategies and last year unlisted supermarket chain, Mercadona, saw sales and profit rise 7 percent.
Earlier this week El Corte Ingles, also one of Spain's largest employers with nearly 97,000 staff, said it had reached a deal to refinance three-quarters of its 5 billion euro debt. .
The group is still planning to issue 500 million euros in bonds to complete its refinancing, a source at the group said. ($1 = 0.7461 euros) (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Writing by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Louise Ireland)