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Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB de CV (NYSE:FMX)
Q2 2021 Earnings Call
Jul 28, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, and welcome, everyone, to FEMSA's Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results Conference call. [Operator Instructions]

During this conference call, management may discuss certain forward-looking statements concerning FEMSA's future performance and should be considered as good faith estimates made by the Company. These forward-looking statements reflect management's expectations and are based upon currently available data. Actual results are subject to future events and uncertainties, which can materially impact the Company's actual performance.

At this time, I will now turn the conference over to Juan Fonseca, FEMSA's Director, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Juan Fonseca -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to FEMSA's second quarter 2021 results conference call. Today, we are joined by Paco Camacho, FEMSA's Chief Corporate Officer; Eugenio Garza, our Finance and Corporate Development Director; and by Jorge Collazo, who heads Coke FEMSA's Investor Relations effort. The plan for today is to have Paco comment on some higher-level trends and more strategic considerations, and then to have Eugenio walk us through the numbers for the quarter, and we will follow the remarks for Q&A as always.

So with that, let me turn it over to Paco Camacho.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

Thank you, Juan. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. We hope you and your families are safe and doing well. As you know, the health emergency is not over. Despite these, our operations posted solid results for the second quarter of 2021. While these partially reflects increased mobility and some economic recovery, it is also driven by the team's superior operational capability and a top-notch ability to execute.

Exactly one year ago, we were discussing the full impact of the COVID pandemic and the effect of the resulting lockdowns in our operations. Energy and resources were being quickly reallocated to prioritize the safety of our employees and customers to help our communities to preserve our cash and to ensure the continuity of our business. Once these priorities were addressed, we look for opportunities and ways to come out stronger on the other side of this crisis. Some of our operations, particularly OXXO and OXXO Gas were affected by the significant reductions in consumer mobility. Some orders like Coca-Cola FEMSA and drugstore operations were more resilient and managed to deliver a solid performance in 2020. Today, six months into 2021, all of them are achieving much better results than they were a year ago, and in some cases, we are really at levels that match or exceed 2019 results.

Clearly, we are not out of the woods yet. Vaccination levels have been uneven across our geography, operating restrictions is still exist in many markets and consumers with general increase or decrease their activity in inverse proportion to the level of concern. In fact, as you know, there is a bit of a rebound in cases right now and what seems to be a third wave. So it continues to be a bumpy ride, but there is a clear recovery taking place in Mexico and in most of our markets. This recovery combined with the learnings and efficiencies develop during the crisis by our teams is helping us deliver an encouraging set of numbers today and setting the stage for compelling growth going forward.

In our Proximity Division, less stringent restrictions have led to an increase in customer mobility. In turn, this has translated into a steady recovery of OXXO's most relevant categories like beverages and single-serve presentations. We have also been able to maintain the momentum that some other categories picked up during 2020, such as the spirits and some traditional pantry items. Importantly, we are seeing our customers come right back to the store as soon as they regain some sort of normality in their routines.

At our Health Division, we continued to leverage our consolidated platform capability to increase our market share in key territories such as Mexico, Chile and Colombia. Even our Fuel Division, that saw the deepest fall in demand last year, as consumers largely stopped driving their vehicles is showing a recovery as demand gradually comes back even if the pace is slower than we would like. For its part, our logistics and distribution operations continued to see better demand trends across markets, although some end user segments in the US, such as hospitality, education and office facilities are not yet back to normal activity levels.

Finally, Coca-Cola FEMSA get finding ways to drive volumes while its adoption of digital platforms continue to help develop the business in Brazil and Mexico. At the same time, product mix is recovering toward the smaller more profitable presentations, ultimately helping the bottom line.

With that, I would now turn the call over to Eugenio, who will go over the results in more detail.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thank you, Paco. Given the operational challenges we faced in many of our operations last year, growth figures relative to 2020 do not tell the full story, and we will therefore complement them with some comparison data relative to 2019 where we consider this to be helpful. Starting with FEMSA's consolidated quarterly numbers, total revenues during the second quarter increased 19.7%, while income from operations increased 87%, compared to the second quarter of 2020. When we compare results versus the second quarter of 2019, total revenues increased 7% while the income from operations increased 17%. FEMSA's net income increased significantly, in which MXN5.3 billion reflecting the generally on demanding comparison base from the effects of COVID in 2020. This was made even lower by the extraordinary payment of almost MXN8.8 billion agreed with the Mexican tax authority, certain asset impairments, and a decrease in our participation in associates, which mainly reflected the results of our investment in Heineken.

In terms of our consolidated net debt position, during the second quarter, it reached MXN75 billion at the end of June. For it's part, capex increased 18%, reflecting a comparison base that is not relevant in the second quarter of 2020 when most of our operations suspended non-critical investment activities.

Moving on to discuss our operations and beginning with FEMSA Comercio Proximity division. We opened 128 net new OXXO stores during the second quarter to reach 276 openings for the last 12 months. While we are not yet up to full speed with our expansion pace, we are on track to achieve our full year target of 800 net new stores in Mexico and our existing pipeline supports an acceleration in the months to come. We have also put in place an even more rigorous approval process that will ensure the high quality of future store locations.

OXXO same-store sales were up 15.6% for the second quarter, reflecting 7.4% growth in store traffic and an increase of 7.6% in average customer ticket, both against 2020. When compared to the second quarter of 2019, same-store sales declined 2.5%. Gross margin increased 190 basis points to reach 41.6%, reflecting a recovery in commercial income from promotional programs with our key supplier partners. Income from operations and operating margin increased significantly compared to the same period of 2020, reflecting improved operating leverage and strict expense discipline across the Proximity Division operations. Relative to the second quarter of 2019, operating income decreased 1.4% while operating margin contracted 80 basis points. These are encouraging numbers given the still challenging operating environment.

Moving on to FEMSA Comercio's Health Division, during the second quarter, we expanded our drugstore count by 54 net additions to reach a total of 3.459 units across our territories at the end of June, and 270 total net new stores for the last 12 months. Revenues increased 17.6% while same-store sales increased an average of 14.9%. We continue to see good momentum at our operations in Chile, Mexico and Colombia, coupled with slowly but steadily improving conditions in Ecuador. Gross margin contracted by 100 basis points in the quarter, reflecting increased promotional activity and higher institutional sales in our South American operations, partially offset by improved efficiency and more effective collaboration and execution with our supplier partners in Mexico. Operating margin expanded 250 basis points, reflecting increased operating leverage.

Moving on to FEMSA Comercio's Fuel Division, revenues increased 56.3% and same-station sales grew 53.7%, relative to the second quarter of 2020. When compared to 2019 numbers, we are not yet there. reflecting mobility levels that remain low. During this quarter, gross margin was 13%, while operating margin was 3.6% of total revenues, reflecting tight expense control that partially offset operating deleverage.

Now, let me talk a little bit about our logistics and distribution business. In the US, we continue to see different speeds of reopening in different regions and while some end user categories such as hospitality and entertainment have increased their activity, they are still lagging their historical performance. We expect trends to continue improving further in the second half of the year. On the logistics front, our operations again showed good trends across its main Latin American markets of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, even if the economic recovery continues to be slower in those countries than in the US.

Finally, moving on to Coca-Cola FEMSA, revenues increased 10.9%, driven by portfolio and execution initiatives along with recovering mobility and improving price mix trends. Mexico and Central America delivered double-digit top line growth, while South America's strong volume performance was driven mainly by solid growth in Brazil, coupled with recovering trends in Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay. As a result, consolidated volumes already exceeded 2019 levels by 1.3%. You can listen to a webcast of their quarterly call that took place yesterday.

And with that let me turn it back to Paco for some final comments.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

Thank you, Eugenio. Before we open the call for questions, let me give you a quick update on the rollout of our digital initiatives. First, let me begin with an update on our OXXO Premia loyalty program rollout, which after a test period in the State of Chihuahua is now being deployed more broadly. So far, the results have been quite positive and this is even more relevant at OXXO Premia complementary spend by OXXO product. As you may recall, this finish testing and validating value proposition through our subsidiary comparable, which is operating under the Article of travel transitory of the Mexican regulations. This means we're still waiting for the definitive regulatory approval to fully launch and market the spin by OXXO product.

Wrapping up a few comments, we are of course encouraged by these results, we feel that way, mainly because they reflect the strength of our value proposition and our teams' operating ability. The deltas are big, but as we have discussed, we still have a bit more work to do here and there when we compare versus the 2019 levels. So we need to keep our heads down and keep pushing hard, executing our action plans and moving forward. We are confident about our strategy. We are certain we are in the right path and importantly, we have over 300,000 resilient extraordinary team members that help us to move forward every day.

Thank you for being here today and for your continued support. And with that, we can open the call for your questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from the line of Bob Ford with Bank of America.

Bob Ford -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Thank you, and good morning, everybody. Congratulations on the results. It's great to see you making so much progress. Paco, with respect to spin, it appears to be accelerating very nicely right now in [Indecipherable] and I was curious if you could talk a little bit about what's behind that and any A-B testing that you're doing? And what do you need to get your final regulatory approval so you can roll out nationally? And then you mentioned Premia, and I was just curious from an app architecture perspective, how would you plan to maybe integrate that with spin or will you, I'll leave it there, just how you plan to integrate that and maybe drive some cross-channel usage?

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

Bob, thank you for your question. Well, on the regulatory front, we are just making sure that we proceed according to the requirements that we have to get all the necessary approvals, and you know that this takes time and on other side what we need to do is to make sure that we comply with what we have been requested and that's exactly what the team is doing.

Then as for Premia, as you know, loyalty programs will allow us to -- the loyalty program will allow us to give spin a significant boost in terms of consumer preference. And I guess, that's the way we were to look at it.

Eugenio, do you want to add to that?

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. From an architecture perspective, they're separated right now, but they will be put together as we rollout the spin product more broadly. And again, with the regulatory approval what it does not allow us to do is to still engaging in heavy marketing campaigns or full marketing campaigns. So we're taking advantage of this time and we've had success at least with regards to early use, but it does allow us to do A-B testing with different features with pricing elements and different demographics to make sure that, that we think are around with the product features and the value prop as we prepare for the full rollout. But so far so good and we are encouraged with the results we're seeing in the initial cities where we rolled out. [Speech Overlap].

Bob Ford -- Bank of America -- Analyst

I'm sorry. I was just going say you mentioned cities, it sounds as if you're beyond some of these...

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Correct, at this point, we are beyond [Indecipherable], still rolling out in a number of different cities and we expect to be nationwide by the end of the year, but Premia right now has been launched in Chihuahua, [Indecipherable], and Spain has basically, I would say, five other cities besides San Luis where we started. And again, all with positive results and we also expect that as we roll out with more cities, the use case of the peer to peer product will clearly be more compelling, as we start to broaden the reach.

Bob Ford -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Great, thank you very much.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks, Bob.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Alan Alanis with Santander.

Alan Alanis -- Santander Investment Securities -- Analyst

Thank you so much. Paco, Eugenio and Jorge, hope you're well. My question has to do with capital deployment. And I mean you have, OK, you have $9 billion, a little bit more than $9 billion of debt, but you had $5.4 billion of cash. So you basically, I mean, you have a lot of ammunition still. So the question has to do with, if anything change or can you give us an update regarding what you're thinking in terms of capital deployment criteria, the size of the acquisitions that you could be thinking, are we still thinking mainly in terms of logistics in the United States, and if that is the case, what is the indication -- what are the indications that you're seeing from the logistics business in the United States that it's worth continue with the strategy of consolidating that business? That would be my question, thank you so much.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. Thank you, Alan, for the question. I mean, as you know our portfolio percent, I think, I mean very attractive optionality in terms of future capital deployment, you mentioned the logistics and distribution business, that being one of them that, I mean, we do participate in a very fragmented industry and we continue to look at targets that are complementary and synergistic, both small and large. So that presents, I think, a good avenue for future capital deployment as well as many of the other traditional businesses where we've been and as well as the other investments we've made in Mexico in cash and carry. So overall, I would characterize our portfolio as being very convex in the sense that it provides a lot of downside protection, both in terms of us being a consumer-oriented company and also with diversity of markets and an exposure to currencies, but then also provides nice optionalities for upsizing capital deployment. That's why we're keeping the liquidity on the balance sheet for now looking for those opportunities, but also at the same time keeping in mind to have the right capital structure to ensure adequate returns for shareholders, but we do see ample opportunities for value creation in deploying more capital in the verticals that we're in already without, as Juan has mentioned before, increasing the complexity, we've reached the complexity in terms of industry participation already and the idea is to deploy additional capital within the areas where we describe not only within the FEMSA portfolio, but also at both with its own balance sheet where we had the announcement of our new agreement with Coca-Cola and allows for also I think great optionality for further investment in value creation opportunities.

Alan Alanis -- Santander Investment Securities -- Analyst

Got it. Actually that last part that you mentioned was my follow-up, so you already answered it. So that was very, very clear, Eugenio, and very useful, thank you so much.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks, Alan.

Operator

We'll go next to Luis Willard with GBM.

Luis Willard -- GBM -- Analyst

Good morning, thanks for taking my question, and congrats on the results. So and as you know there have been quite recent some platforms are starting to tap into express deliveries that's less than, let's say, 10, 15 minutes. I know it's still very early and probably still unprofitable for most of them, but I would appreciate your thoughts regarding the evolution of the industry toward these types of services and then maybe how do you see OXXO evolving also within this context in the next years? Thank you.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. I mean, clearly express delivery as you know as during the pandemic, I mean, a lot of the e-commerce platforms across all channels grew their volumes exponentially and last mile delivery continues to be something that we look at very, very carefully. I think in terms of the proximity value proposition that from a drop size perspective, it's really hard to justify and compete against some of the players that are focused on that segment. And at this point, still in kind of start-up financial mode, burning cash, trying to adapt consumers to add to go into the scale, but we are, I mean, competing there in a smaller scale with our new OXXO app, trying to attack in a certain way that category and learn a little bit more about that. I think the higher drop sizes are probably going to be in the revenue on categories, so larger gatherings that could be an option.

Having said that, I think in the categories where it is making sense, in our Logistics division, we are seeing more and more traffic, both in our warehouse division as well as in our LTL divisions of using e-commerce platforms for not just CPG companies but general, I mean, whether it be apparel companies, healthcare companies, etc., where they are using our warehousing services and our less than truckload services to fulfill that e-commerce and there we see a very clear opportunity more in the short term, and it's actually partially responsible for the good results we have seen in our logistics portfolio in Latin America. So, we see more of an opportunity there than in the Proximity Division value prop.

Having said that, we continue to double there, do also A-B testing to see how that goes, but we see greater promise, I think in the logistics division than we do in offering the end-to-end last mile at a profitable business model except in the cases of the higher drop size occasions.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

And if I may add, Luis, I think that we need to keep in mind that this is a rapidly changing environment and our business operations remain very close to understanding what consumers are looking for, how this whole thing is evolving and clearly we have a growth platform. If we see any opportunities in the future, you can rest assure that we will take it, I mean just as Eugenio said, today in our Health Care division, they do have actually some last mile delivery that is performing really well in Latin America. So you can imagine that moving forward, we see the opportunity but we want to take it when it's convenient in terms of having a sustainable business, and we will keep our eyes open and we will move when the opportunity comes.

Luis Willard -- GBM -- Analyst

Thank you, that was very helpful.

Operator

We'll go next to Antonio Hernandez, Barclays.

Antonio Hernandez -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. Thanks for taking my question and congrats on your results. My question is your performance basically in OXXO the overall different formats, are you seeing any acceleration on the gradual recovery that you've seen throughout the last couple of quarters, are you seeing any acceleration there because of the rising COVID-19 cases, and also are you seeing in those formats, I mean, you mentioned in your press release that you are having promotional activities in some regions and some formats. Are you seeing some pressure there also because of maybe competition or inflationary environment? Thanks.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure, I will start with them. I mean, if you go month by month, clearly we've seen a month on month improvement overall in volumes. With the recent uptick in cases, to be honest, there hasn't been as much closure or restrictions in terms of mobility as we saw in the past waves of the pandemic. So we've been fortunate there. I mean, having said that, there are still certain restrictions in terms of alcohol sales, the hours of operation in certain of our stores, in June, for example, we have delays sector because of the elections, also for, so a weekend there was lost. So it's still going to be a bumpy ride going forward.

Having said that, we are not seeing a drastic change in measures taken by the government from what we've seen in the past and from what at least we've been reading from the government's stance, we don't expect a full-fledged locked down, like we saw last year. So those are encouraging signs. Again, we will see, certainly, I mean, and maybe other operating restrictions in terms of hours going forward. So it will be a bumpy road, but we're encouraged by two things, one, is that as the traffic comes back the use case for pantry and other items that were not as typical before the pandemic that those trends will stick. And then also that we frankly took advantage of this pandemic to really be more efficient on the cost side and that those cost savings will continue into the future and provide for a more profitable OXXO once traffic and ticket levels normalize.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

And if I may, Antonio, I will add, the other thing that I would add is that the pandemic on top of the efficiencies have allowed the team to be significantly flexible to adapt to a specific situations of operations. So that means that whenever there is a situation coming up, whenever there is an, a need on the consumer side, the teams have become even more flexible and adaptable to capture the opportunities and to react to whatever is happening out there. And clearly, this increased capabilities will stay around, and even if governments and people, as Eugenio said, are less prone to likely heavy lockdowns moving forward. Nevertheless, they -- will continually changing and shifting and the teams are, I would say, better equipped than ever to respond to these situations.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Antonio, you have to remember schools and universities, for the most part are not open yet, it seems that they well this coming semester. So that hopefully will also -- and if they're already further restrictions in terms of hours and lockdown, we will at least bring back some customers that haven't come to our stores for that use case since March of last year. So that is also encouraging.

Antonio Hernandez -- Barclays -- Analyst

Perfect. And then on the promotional activities and inflationary side and maybe competition, are you seeing any pressure there?

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. Sorry, I forgot about that. We are seeing increased promotional activity on behalf of our supplier partners and that has tinkered around with our gross margin as usually you will see the top line decrease, but then we make it up back in commercial income. So the gross margins look probably higher than you guys are used to, but it's more on the CPG side really trying to promote consumption in the different outpatients. We are seeing some inflationary pressures, not to be honest, not so much as at OXXO as we're seeing in other of our harder goods like [Indecipherable] division, but for the most part, I think the inflation at the retail level has been, I think a little bit more subdued than it has in the other hard goods and so far, we've not seen any price elasticity impacts in our consumer and no impact on our margin.

So far, our thought is that this inflation phase hopefully will be transitory and not permanent, and for now, we are not seeing an elasticity impact in terms of the consumer behavior.

Antonio Hernandez -- Barclays -- Analyst

Perfect, thanks a lot and have a nice day.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We'll go next to Alvaro Garcia with BTG.

Alvaro Garcia -- BTG -- Analyst

Hey gentlemen, good morning, thanks for the call. My question is on the Health Division on your gross margin in the Health Division, thanks for clearing on sort of like gross margin strength at OXXO but in the Health Division, we did see a contraction and you mentioned sort of more institutional sales and more promotional activity, I was wondering how recurring that might be going forward? Thank you.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. So that has to do frankly also with mix, and last year at this quarter we will see -- we were seeing a lot of COVID prevention of COVID treatment options with higher margins. So that in and of itself is one of the reasons more institutional sales, especially in South America are holding our mix as well. And the promotional activity has to do, I think a lot more with the non-drug products that we're selling and that's a little bit more in terms of trying to adapt to customer taste and driving -- continuing to drive traffic to the stores, especially in South America and in Chile where disposable incomes given the liquidity that has been pumped in the system through the pension fund withdrawals that you've seen and where we have adjusted that to -- adjusted pricing to drive more traffic into the stores.

So I wouldn't say that I would continue to see a longer-term in this, I think that's more temporary than anything else, but yeah, a bunch of different factors affected that gross margin, including also just the mix of now non-COVID related products.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

On the positive side, just to add to that, you need to also keep in mind that this was compensated situation that we faced in the gross margin in South America was compensated by significant efficiencies from the Mexico side working with our suppliers. So that we will, of course, keep moving forward.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Yeah, in Mexico, we're seeing, I mean, month to month, I mean recoveries of 100 basis points or more at similar product categories in gross margin, so that in and of itself is encouraging for the Mexico business.

Alvaro Garcia -- BTG -- Analyst

That's great to hear and that's a function of just greater buying power on year end given your greater...

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Correct, greater pricing power and then also, I think, a shift in terms of our commercial strategy with regards to working with suppliers to put out the -- concentrating the purchasing power in less SKUs, the ones that move the greatest where we can get better margins.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

The team has, as you can imagine, also working strongly on getting efficiencies and having a better operations. So that is also helping.

Alvaro Garcia -- BTG -- Analyst

That's great, that's super helpful. Thank you.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks, Alvaro.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Ricardo Alves with Morgan Stanley.

Ricardo Alves -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Good morning, everyone, thanks for the call. I'll limit myself to one question as well. And insisting a little bit on OXXO same-store sales if we could go back there, I mean, you alluded to some of these sectors, but when you think about your performance in OXXO post COVID and we discussed it in the previous call, what were your key findings with OXXO same-store sales in the second quarter, I mean, a lot of discussions center around the fact that traffic will improve right as mobility increases, but then the question is how your average ticket will perform? So curious to hear what you have to say about that, your performance, if maybe your average ticket performance surprised you to the upside given how strong the top line was, I don't know if maybe you have further evidence that some of the items that you alluded to are going to be stickier going forward? Thanks for the call.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

I will start and then let Eugenio answer it. And thank you, Ricardo, for the question. But clearly, I mean, when you look at the ticket in OXXO, it is being aided by some of these, what you're calling a sticky product that we added in the portfolio in the five year, I mean just as we mentioned, spirit being one that we continue to see helping the ticket price, but importantly as we were mentioning the team has been very quick adapting to consumers' needs in the offering that we have in the stores and that has made that also some of the more traditional pantry items as we alluded in the call are also helping in the ticket price. So consumers are coming back to the stores, but at the same time they find more solutions in the stores and that is helping the ticket price. It is -- we expect that these are things that will stay moving forward because consumers have adjusted their shopping to what they find in the stores. So there is no reason why it shouldn't stay there. Eugenio?

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. I mean, I would say in terms of what sticking at pantry items, I would say spirits and services. I think those three are probably the ones that are trends that will continue in the future and the ones that I think are amortizing, I think also the fact that the consumers with personal that are buying like the personal soft drinks and smaller snack items are coming back to the store and lowering the average ticket from what we saw in the heat of the pandemic. But those three items, I would say, are the categories that are keeping the ticket higher than it otherwise would have been and hopefully that will continue into the future.

Ricardo Alves -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Much appreciated, thanks for the color.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Rodrigo Alcantara with UBS.

Rodrigo Alcantara -- UBS -- Analyst

Hi, guys, good morning. Thanks for taking my question. I will limit myself to one as well. So just about the integration of the US assets, I was wondering if you can comment any of big share and about this sequential improvements that we saw on margins on a quarter-over-quarter basis, I was wondering if you can comment of how much we can with these two operating leverage, cost control initiatives or any synergies there, and what level of EBITDA margins we may expect for the full year? That would be my question, thanks.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. If you want, I'll start and then Paco you can complement. I mean, there was -- during the pandemic, I think at the same as in OXXO, a very strong review of false status on Solistica, so a lot of efforts on the management part in terms of lowering both SG&A as well as being more efficient on house and that is I think a good chunk of it. And then volumes came back, I think we're obviously comparing to, remember the second quarter last year, there was an weird transportation whatsoever, so that volume also contributed to operating leverage. And then more and more, I think we are getting secure contracts with better margins on both, on the warehousing side as well as on the LTL side. So there has been I think significant pickup in higher quality, higher margin products. So, I mean, those are encouraging news into the future and we do expect again the margins to continue to add to move to the upside, which again will be balanced with the logistics, sorry, the distribution business in the state that operates under a different, different margin dynamics, but you should see some improvement there going forward.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

Yeah. Thank you, Rodrigo, for the question. The only couple of things that I would add to what Eugenio just said, that our Solistica business, it is consistent with what the other operations are doing. It's benefiting from the fact that they have become significantly more efficient in the way they operate and that we should continue to see benefits moving forward. And second, when it comes to the integration of the distribution businesses in the US and we made reference to that in previous calls, the integration is also coming along with the synergies that we had expected and that is also coming along according to plan, and that will help also as we continue to integrate those businesses in the months to come.

Rodrigo Alcantara -- UBS -- Analyst

That's very interesting. Thank you both for the answer.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks, Rodrigo.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Rodrigo Echagaray with Scotiabank.

Rodrigo Echagaray -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Thank you. I wanted to revisit the spin launch and I guess the question is what should be the full capabilities at spin at launch beyond loyalty and will there be any changes on how that is a strategy for example as a result of this launch, I'm also particularly interested in the last mile initiatives, which should briefly mention, but if you could add more color on what could we expect on the last mile, especially even though you've had some learnings through FEMSA Ventures and the exposure to start-ups like Houston. So I'm just curious as to how can we put it all together? Thank you.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

I'll start and then let Eugenio add to it. But first, thank you, Rodrigo, for the question. Look, it's been, as we said, we are in the process of using the test market that's too really fine-tune the value proposition and so we are at the moment, understanding what it is that consumers want, how they are using the service, what modifications and changes and improvements we need to make there, and that's precisely the purpose of the pilot test. And as we open up order for their series and will improve the experience and the services we provide based on these learnings.

As for the last mile, as we said in one of the previous questions, we see that consumers are of course using that service as part of the experience out of the pandemic, but as we said, at this stage, we don't see a way in which we can actually have a sustainable business with the type of economics that those practices have today. We clearly see that this whole environment is changing a lot, consumers are changing their habits. We see that an opportunity may arise using our whole platform as to -- as a way to provide better economics and we will do that. As Eugenio said, when we see that the ticket size makes it attractive so that we can have a sustainable business. Now, yes, indeed we have learnings with either some of the participations we have in FEMSA Ventures and also OXXO, as Eugenio said before, and we're taking those and I'm sure that we will see a way to use those learnings in the future, but Eugenio, do you want to add to that?

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. Your last question with regards to Saldazo by the way, Saldazo remains open as a product and we're letting basically consumers decide whether Saldazo or spin makes sense for them. So they will coexist at the store. With just quickly on spin, I think also you asked kind of what functionalities are being launched right now, the NBP [Phonetic] includes basically, I mean, the ability to pay at OXXO stores to the wallet, the ability to do peer to peer and cash-in and cash-out of those transfers at any OXXO store, and then it allows also for bill payments and it is integrated to OXXO Premia. So you can earn points and then transfer them to your OXXO Premia account. So that's what the NBP includes clearly the optionality there going forward, I mean, is limitless, we can do, I mean, credit, we can do a lot more stuff from the platform, but that's why we're starting right now.

And just adding on to last mile, I mean, we're learning a lot in the investments we're making both in [Indecipherable] and other call it distribution heavy last mile companies that are attacking not only the end consumer, but also at the moment top stores, but as Paco said, I mean, the key thing is there will be certain use cases like in [Indecipherable] that has a very high average ticket volume and also for certain of our categories like ReUnion [Phonetic] and in other bigger ticket items that where we will make sense and there will be others where we won't makes sense. So we will make sure to have a robust product offering and through our digital channels to the consumer, but we will also be very wary of just burning cash or being unprofitable just for the sake of having customers adopt and coming to our platform. I think there is -- I mean, there is a lot of value to be added from the OXXO network and a lot of convenience that we can offer both in terms of speed delivery and product availability that other platforms cannot offer, and we'll try to do the right things from an economic perspective.

Rodrigo Echagaray -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Got it, makes sense. It sounds like the ticket obviously is a very important component of the equation. Thank you very much for the answer.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks, Rodrigo.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line from Marcella Recchia of Credit Suisse.

Marcella Recchia -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Hi, gentlemen, and thank you for taking my question. My question is more related to logistics here in Brazil. We know that how using has been road show talking to the market about your expansion plans, but it would be great to hear from you and updated expectations on that, and [Indecipherable], I have also seen a lot of more new stores here being open as well. So it would be great if you can share your initial impressions about the market dynamics and how it compares to Mexico and what are the main difference on that, that we will likely to get adapted? Thank you very much.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. We're very happy with the way the partnership is going with [Indecipherable] there. As you know, during the pandemic, the select stores, I mean over 1,000 of them, we remained relatively solid throughout the pandemic, they adopted of course value props and operations. But those remained relatively solid and we're happy with that. And with the initial rollout of the proximity concept that to the OXXO stores, I mean, we've only got a handful of stores at this point, but which are very different from a mix perspective than the traditional Mexican OXXO stores we have. I think a lot more foodservice, a lot more bread, a lot of more occasions that are not necessarily the consumption. It is more akin to compete with the local by the rest I think than with the traditional mom and pop store in Mexico.

But so far I think, I mean, we're very happy with the performance there being able to compete with I think a good product offering on the bread side, especially and uncertain of the of the beverage categories as well. So we're encouraged, but again, still too early to tell. We've only been rolling out in the outskirts of Sao Paolo at this moment, but they are growing and maturing, the stores are maturing according to plan and we're encouraged about the expansion plans there.

Marcella Recchia -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Okay, thank you very much guys.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Ulises Argote with JPMorgan.

Ulises Argote -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Hi guys, good morning, thanks for those space for questions here. So just a quick one on my side. Wanted to ask on the performance around OXXO in Mexico, maybe on a bit more segmented basis. So if you can provide some color there on how trends are, let's say, in the city or big city locations versus the ones in the tourist centers that had been lagging a bit behind, any comment there on the details on evolution and performance will be really helpful? Thanks.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Sure. I think, I mean regionally, certainly one part of it. And as you said, I mean the tourist locations have been very tough during the heat of the pandemic over the last summer. They are coming back. Having said that, we are seeing a significant traffic in the beach areas in the Southeast and in the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The city, it depends on which ones you look at the ones that are close to bus stops and traditional transportation hubs. They're doing well. Clearly, the office locations are still suffering as well as the school locations. So I think it has more to do with specific locations, generally speaking, but again, we are encouraged by the trends that with the new product mix that they are doing relatively well.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

And what I would, Ulises, you said, we see broad recovery in this last quarter on the city basis for OXXO, and it is more within the city, the type of mobility and traffic that affects consumers way of doing and conducting their life. If we have a store that is close to, for example, a school, you can imagine that is still affected in the city is doing well. When we see a store that is closer to an office area and that office area is back into a more normal working hours, then of course, we also see an improvement. So this whole way of operating which we manage the store and the depending on what is happening around it, as you can imagine, is helping us a lot in terms of performance, because we have that ability and that type of capillarity.

Ulises Argote -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Perfect, thank you very much for those.

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks, Ulises.

Operator

Our last question comes from the line of Carlos Laboy with HSBC.

Carlos Laboy -- HSBC -- Analyst

Yes, good morning, everyone. So once reviewed the Heineken stake a strategic and later, it became more tactical and you started selling it down and now FEMSA has new leadership members, Heineken has a new CEO, Coke Heineken, Coke FEMSA, you all see cross category collaborate growth and partnership opportunities very differently than just two or three years ago. Does this change your view of the medium to long term merits of holding onto the Heineken stake, is it becoming more strategic and less tactical now?

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Thanks for the question, Carlos. I think, I mean, as we have said before, Heineken does, I mean, number one, it does provide a very, very stable downside protector in terms of revenue generation stability in developed market exposure to the portfolio, and on the other side, we are also, I mean, as you know, growing our partnership for a number of years now in Brazil and hopefully in other markets going forward. So it is, I think both a strategic relationship as well as a good financial from our perspective.

I mean, having said that, we evaluate the Heineken stake the same way we evaluate all of our businesses and are continually revising kind of what returns we expect from the current valuation levels vis-a-vis other opportunities as well as the cash in our balance sheet as we continue to look at capital deployment opportunities and balance the funding requirements for those opportunities looking not just at our current portfolio, but also our debt capacity and figure out what -- how the portfolio would look like pro forma, that's the way we did it, of course, when we entered the Janssen space in the States, that's the way we found that our investment in Jetro Restaurant Depot.

And going forward, we will continue to evaluate any and all funding opportunities as we look to deploy capital from many sources. Again for now, we remain happy shareholders in Heineken and we still think that it provides, I mean, a good backdrop and safety net to the portfolio as well as having strategic implications, but that asset as well as any other asset is going to be looked at in the event that we look at a larger capital deployment opportunity going forward.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

And the one thing to add, Carlos, and thank you for the questions. Is that as you said in the way you phrased your question, we do have a very good relationship with the management of Heineken and we have a good relationship with the management of Coca-Cola company. So, those are things that are also there and as important.

Carlos Laboy -- HSBC -- Analyst

Thank you very much for your insights.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, that is all the time we have for questions for today. I will now turn the conference back over to Francisco Camacho, for additional remarks.

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

Well, I think that's all for today. Thank you very much for your participation. Thank you for your support and have a great day.

Operator

Thank you. And ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to replay the webcast for this call, you may do so at FEMSA's Investor Relations website, this concludes our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and have a nice day. All parties may now disconnect.

Duration: 68 minutes

Call participants:

Juan Fonseca -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Francisco Camacho Beltran -- Chief Corporate Officer

Eugenio Garza Y. Garza -- Director of Finance and Corporate Development

Bob Ford -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Alan Alanis -- Santander Investment Securities -- Analyst

Luis Willard -- GBM -- Analyst

Antonio Hernandez -- Barclays -- Analyst

Alvaro Garcia -- BTG -- Analyst

Ricardo Alves -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Rodrigo Alcantara -- UBS -- Analyst

Rodrigo Echagaray -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Marcella Recchia -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Ulises Argote -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Carlos Laboy -- HSBC -- Analyst

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