- Slightly improved operating earnings despite revenue decline
- Positive second-quarter EBIT
- Successful brand relaunch
- Outlook confirmed
Bregenz, December 14, 2018: Wolford AG, which is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, generated revenue of € 62.37 million in the first half of the current financial year, comprising a decline of 11% compared to € 70.15 million in the previous year. The decrease in revenue equaled 10% during the first six months when adjusted for changes in currency exchange rates (especially the decrease in value of the Swiss franc and the US dollar). Within the context of systematically reducing ongoing costs, Wolford managed to slightly improve operating earnings (EBIT) in spite of the revenue decline and higher marketing costs. EBIT in the first half of the current 2018/19 financial year amounted to € -5.92 million, compared to € -6.18 million in the prior-year period. Wolford generated a positive second-quarter EBIT of about € 1 million. However, as the consequence of a tax payment, earnings after tax deteriorated to € -7.33 million, down from € -6.62 million in the first six months of 2017/18. The revenue decline in the first half-year affected the company’s own retail (-9.3%) and wholesale (-10.3%) business, whereas the online segment reported a 14% rise in revenue. Wolford’s second-quarter business operations were also negatively impacted by weak customer frequency related to the long-lasting summerlike temperatures and the late start of the autumn season. The entire European fashion market was affected by this development. Revenue of German fashion retailers fell by 13% in September alone.
Declining fixed costs and higher equity ratio
Wolford succeeded in slightly improving operating earnings in spite of the revenue decrease and higher marketing expenses. The restructuring program, above all the systematic reduction of excess capacities and the streamlining of corporate processes, showed a sustainably positive effect. Personnel expenses fell substantially by € 3.31 million year-on-year to € 31.16 million. Moreover, other operating expenses were down by € 2.16 million to € 24.45 million.
The equity ratio improved substantially to 39% compared to 29% in the previous year as a result of the successfully concluded capital increase in July 2018. The repayment of loans led to a substantial drop in net debt, from € 39.15 million to € 25.21 million. Accordingly, the gearing ratio was also cut in half, from 102% to 52%.
Successful relaunch of the brand / New strategy for China on the home straight
Wolford made considerable progress in implementing its new brand strategy with the objective of increasingly appeal to younger target groups. In addition to a fashion collection featuring numerous fashion highlights focusing on the core competence of skinwear, the company also presented further milestones in recent weeks designed to ensure a consistent brand experience.
The new market presence was introduced within the context of a comprehensive brand presentation in London at the beginning of November. Since then, Wolford has been present across the globe with a new visual language both online and in the display windows of 117 points of sale. In line with the campaign motto #truecharacter, the Wolford brand presents itself in a playful, emotional and occasionally provocative manner. Every image of the well-known fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth tells a short story and underlines Wolford’s brand claim that women wearing Wolford garments will look good in all situations in life.
The company will also present its new shop concept in January 2019 in two Paris boutiques and one store in Amsterdam. “We are creating a modern world of experience matching the brand promise”, explains CEO Axel Dreher. “The modular concept is flexibly adaptable to local characteristics and is economically feasible”. Moreover, the online shops will already present themselves in a new look and feel at the end of 2018.
Wolford also made progress in developing a new sales strategy for the important future market of China. The company will substantially expand its local market presence there with the support of the new large shareholder Fosun. Details are currently being negotiated, and a comprehensive solution is expected to be presented in the near future.
However, the Management Board warns against having overly high expectations regarding short-term revenue effects and points to the difficult conditions in the Chinese retail fashion segment likely to prevail for the foreseeable future. “We continue to be called upon to identify and leverage cost savings potential – This is and will continue to be an ongoing process”, says Wolford CFO Brigitte Kurz. For example, a current focus is on the issue of procurement optimization.
Wolford confirms its outlook for the current financial year in spite of the weak revenue development in the first half-year. The third quarter of the year which traditionally generates the highest revenue has just commenced, the generated cost savings have proven to be sustainable, and the company is continually striving to reduce fixed costs. For these reasons, the management continues to expect positive operating earnings (EBIT) in the current 2018/19 financial year. However, third-quarter revenue development will be of crucial importance.
The report for the first half-year 2018/19 can be downloaded under company.wolford.com, Investor Relations.
|Earnings Data||05 ‑10/18||05 ‑10/17||Chg. in %||2017/18|
|Revenues||in € mill.||62.37||70.15||‑11||149.07|
|EBIT||in € mill.||‑5.92||‑6.18||+4||‑9.22|
|Earnings before tax||in € mill.||‑6.61||‑7.36||+10||‑11.43|
|Earnings after tax||in € mill.||‑7.33||‑6.62||‑11||‑11.54|
|Capital expenditure||in € mill.||1.84||0.78||>100||1.40|
|Free cash flow||in € mill.||‑16.41||‑7.88||>100||1.83|
|Employees (on average)||FTE||1,350||1,476||+9||1,433|
|Balance Sheet Data||31.10.2018||31.10.2017||Chg. in %||30.04.2018|
|Equity||in € mill.||48.16||38.23||+26||33.90|
|Net debt||in € mill.||25.21||39.15||‑36||30.09|
|Working capital||in € mill.||43.29||48.65||‑11||34.59|
|Balance sheet total||in € mill.||123.68||130.68||‑5||114.33|
|Equity ratio||in %||39||29||+34||30|
|Stock Exchange Data||05 ‑10/18||05 ‑10/17||Chg. in %||2017/18|
|Earnings per share||in €||‑1.10||‑1.35||+19||‑2.35|
|Share price high||in €||17.70||21.45||‑17||19.75|
|Share price low||in €||12.30||15.92||‑23||11.36|
|Share price at end of period||in €||12.30||15.92||‑23||13.60|
|Shares outstanding (weighted)||in 1,000||6,631||4,912||+35||4,912|
|Market capitalization (ultimo)||in € mill.||82.65||79.60||+4||68.00|