Once again I am writing you, this time to take stock of 2017 and share with you our challenges for this year. On February 22nd, we published the company’s annual earnings. While it is true that last year was the first year we have failed to reach our goals since we went public in 2011, by 2018 we hope all the work we have done will pay off.
Throughout 2017 we invested a lot in pricing so our customers could continue to enjoy great products at low prices; however, our decision to maintain our pricing leadership in Spain has had an impact on our margins, which has not been offset by our cost-cutting efforts.
Our efforts have also focused on offering more and better services to our customers and this has been reflected in the fact that satisfaction of those who rely on us for their purchases improved in more than 500 remodeled stores in Spain. In addition, our franchise partners confirmed their positive opinions, with a sustained improvement in the satisfaction index, particularly with regard to the profitability of the business.
We have started 2018 on a positive note, with more competitive prices than last year, and with a more efficient convenience store remodeling plan that will affect more than 1,000 stores. In 2018, DIA will also increase the rate at which it is opening businesses in all countries and will accelerate its e-commerce projects. This increased growth in sales, together with additional profits from our commercial alliances and the digitalization processes we are implementing, will be the pillars for growth in this financial year.