- Revenues € 108,945 million
- EBITDA € 8,535
- EBITDA margin 7.8%
- EBIT € -5,263
- EBIT margin -4.8%
- Earnings after taxes € -12,332
Wolford delivered a resilient and encouraging performance with a significant turnaround in EBITDA, and demonstrated a clear path to sustainable growth despite the challenging market conditions in 2021. The company delivered positive sales growth across all channels and geographies, as a result of its global expansion and enhanced brand strategies. Substantial revenue growth in both the US and China partially offset the impact of lockdowns in Europe. Athleisure lines and capsule collections with internationally acclaimed designers have also proven to be a new, high-growth avenue for the brand. The business will continue to innovate to capture the significant market opportunities which exist.
Best EBITDA in 10 years, double-digit growth in turnover and earnings
With sales of € 108.9 million for the reporting period January to December 2021, Wolford AG beat the previous year (January to December 2020) by approximately € 13.2 million (approx. 14%). EBITDA (operating result before depreciation and amortization and other financial expenses) turned significantly positive from € -8.0 million to € +8.5 million, which is the best EBITDA result in 10 years (adjusted for real estate sales).
Wolford has continued to make encouraging progress with its measures to improve the top and bottom lines as part of its ongoing restructuring program, despite the absence of applied Covid-19 state aid payout (“fixed cost subsidy” and “loss compensation”) in the past financial year.
Sales growth across all channels and geographies: online, US and China businesses grow double-digit, new brand architecture drives growth
Against a groupwide increase in revenue of 14%, the China and US businesses were the main geographical growth drivers with 79% and 38% growth respectively. In the company’s well-established EMEA markets, the company also grew by 7% notwithstanding weakened consumer sentiment at the beginning of the year and in the fourth quarter due to lockdowns in Europe. With a 21% year-on-year growth in retail sales, the company has also successfully put its retail business back on a sustainable growth path. Revenue from wholesale and online channels grew by 3% and 27% respectively.
The growth drivers from an assortment point of view were the collections of the brand extension “The W” (modern, young and sporty) and “The W Lab” (cooperation with external star designers), which grew 11-fold in the legwear and ready-to-wear product groups. This once again confirmed the adopted strategy of the brand architecture.
The first international collaboration of 2021, Amina Muaddi x Wolford, exceeded expectations across all sales channels. The success of this capsule collection within the wholesale network – supported by special pop-up stores in exclusive shopping malls – made it possible to increase business overall and open more doors to premium designer stores worldwide. With the help of digital marketing measures developed in-house, together with Amina Muaddi, Wolford is now successfully addressing an additional e significantly younger and fashion-conscious target group.
With the aim of growing the business in certain key markets, Wolford has also started to develop collaborations with regionally relevant fashion design talents and brands. These include the lingerie capsule collection with Neiwai, a Shanghai-based brand known for its simple and sustainable cuts.
Outlook: Further increase in profitability, growth course targets over € 200 million turnover, further digitalization of the business model
With the significantly improved 2021 results and a clear future growth strategy in place, Wolford is back on track to sustainable growth after ten years, and is now better placed than ever to occupy its position as the world’s leading supplier of women’s skinwear in the upper premium segment. The company aims to achieve global sales of over € 200 million in the next three to five years.
Wolford has launched a transformation agenda for the next three years which includes important growth initiatives as well as the further restructuring and increased digitalization of the business model.
In terms of brand and product strategy, Wolford continues to focus on the strategy of brand expansion. For example, the latest label “The W” achieved 14% of trend sales in 2021. Wolford also expanded its successful cooperations under “The W Lab”: Alberta Ferretti and GCDS marked the launch of numerous international campaigns and a total of four collaborations with outstanding international designers in the first semester of this year. Geographically, the company continues to invest in the core markets of the USA, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as China.
In the current financial year alone, Wolford plans to open 15 new boutiques and invest across all distribution channels – retail, wholesale and online – including a new shop concept, “The Green Experience”, which underlines Wolford’s strength and commitment to sustainability.