SAO PAULO, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Brazilian food retailer GPA SA expects e-commerce sales to jump by more than five times over the next four to five years while maintaining margins, Chief Executive Jorge Faical said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a Credit Suisse online event, Faical said that digital sales across the sector have tripled since the beginning of the pandemic, to about 1.5% of total sales.
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He mentioned a series of challenges for supermarkets to sell online, such as the delivery of products in increasingly shorter deadlines, which makes the process more expensive and puts pressure on margins.

Even so, he said the company believes it can maintain the same profitability levels in e-commerce sales as in physical stores, which should be facilitated by the group’s network of around 800 stores across the country that can be used as distribution centers.

(Reporting by Aluísio Alves; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)