Poland's CCC flags gloomy early 2023, bets on core market growth

A view of a shop of Polish shoe retailer CCC in Warsaw, Poland
A view of a shop of Polish shoe retailer CCC, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Warsaw, Poland, September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

GDANSK, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Polish footwear and apparel retailer CCC (CCCP.WA) predicted a tough first half of the year, but is betting on growth in its core markets, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

" …we expect the first half to be the hardest this year and the first quarter to be its hardest part," Marcin Czyczerski said during a press conference.

Still he remained optimistic about 2023 as a whole for the group and its brands, adding that the firm would publish its outlook following the first quarter.

In early afternoon trading, CCC shares were down 2.8% at 38.17 zlotys ($8.59).

CCC's shares fell as much as 5.2% on Tuesday, after the retailer published its preliminary fourth-quarter results on Monday evening and hinted at a gloomy start to 2023.

The company reported a 12% drop year-on-year in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) late on Monday. Adjusted EBITDA was flat, while revenue grew 19% to 2.43 billion zlotys ($546.92 million).

Looking forward, besides cutting costs, the retailer plans to focus on accelerating its sales and improve its results outside of Poland.

"This (plan) to even out international markets with Poland is very important for us in 2023 and we will surely deliver."

Czyczerski said two-figure growth in the value of Central and Eastern Europe's footwear market was possible in 2023, mainly on price hikes, adding the company was seeking to 'over-participate' in raising prices. CCC considers CEE countries as its core market.

The group upheld its plan for Modivo's IPO by the end of 2023 and a CCC share issue by mid-May 2023.

($1 = 4.4431 zlotys)

Reporting by Patrycja Zaras and Karol Badohal; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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