A major clearance program launched in reaction to poor winter conditions helped XXL to boost its sales by 7 percent in the first quarter to 2,162 million Norwegian kroner (€191.7m-$208.2m), with 3 percent growth on a same-store basis, but this led the Nordic sports retailer to book negative Ebitda of NOK 83 million (€7.4m-$8.0m) as compared to positive Ebitda of NOK 192 million in the year-ago period. The clearance program boosted the cash reserves of the group, which has also obtained new financing. However, because of the market situation created by the coronavirus epidemic, the company gave notice of temporary layoffs to around 1,000 employees in Norway and 450 in Finland. In April, XXL experienced increased demand in Norway and Sweden, mostly in the fitness sector, prompting the group to cancel some of the layoffs in Norway, but the situation remained negative in Finland. Its stores in Austria were locked out for one month until mid-April. More in SGI Europe.