Still loss-making, but Wolford's recovery is on track
High-end Austrian intimates specialist Wolford delivered its long-delayed 2021 annual results on Friday and the figures showed it’s improving and on the right track, although it’s still loss-making at a headline level.
The company saw revenues up 14% to €108.945 million, EBITDA of €8.5 million from a loss of €8 million a year earlier, and an EBITDA margin of 7.8%. It was its best EBITDA result in 10 years, adjusted for real estate sales.
But its result on an EBIT basis was actually a loss of €5.263 million and the EBIT margin was negative to the tune of 4.8%. Its net loss was €12.332 million.
The company called it a “resilient and encouraging performance with a significant turnaround in EBITDA”, and said it “demonstrated a clear path to sustainable growth despite the challenging market conditions in 2021”.
It saw sales growth across all channels and geographies “as a result of its global expansion and enhanced brand strategies”. That included “substantial revenue growth in both the US and China” that was able to partially offset the impact of lockdowns in Europe.
In fact, Chinese sales rose 79% and American sales were up 38%. But well-established EMEA markets grew by only 7% with “weakened consumer sentiment at the beginning of the year and in the fourth quarter due to lockdowns in Europe”.
The business saw 21% year-on-year growth in retail sales, and said it has “successfully put its retail business back on a sustainable growth path”. Revenue from wholesale and online channels grew by 3% and 27%, respectively.
Its athleisure lines and capsule collections with international designers “have also proven to be a new, high-growth avenue for the brand” and it said it will “continue to innovate to capture the significant market opportunities which exist”.
The growth drivers were the collections of the younger, sports brand extension The W, and collab-focused The W Lab, which grew 11-fold in the legwear and ready-to-wear product groups.
The year’s first international collaboration with Amina Muaddi “exceeded expectations across all sales channels” and its success in wholesale “made it possible to increase business overall and open more doors to premium designer stores worldwide”. It also helped it address “an additional and significantly younger and fashion-conscious target group”.
It’s also linking up with big names regionally, such as for a lingerie capsule collection with Neiwai, a Shanghai-based brand.
So what does this all mean for the future? It sees a further increase in profitability, and aims to achieve global sales of over €200 million in the next three to five years.
In the current financial year, it plans to open 15 new boutiques and invest across all distribution channels — retail, wholesale and online — including a new store concept, The Green Experience, that “underlines Wolford's strength and commitment to sustainability”.
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