Fjällräven’s parent company Fenix Outdoor optimistic for 2021
Martin Nordin, chairman of the board at Swedish group Fenix Outdoor, is relatively optimistic about the prospects for the 2021 financial year.
“For the time being, we think that anything to do with travel will not enjoy a significant recovery in 2021, at least globally, though North America seems to be ahead of the pack. Asia, including China, will also begin to improve in the course of the year. We are chiefly concerned about Europe. The current unpredictability is making everything difficult. (...) My belief is that we are in a position to enjoy a reasonably positive 2021, even though we are constantly dealing with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, and we are not yet out of the woods,” said Nordin, the man at the helm of Fenix Outdoor, speaking at the publication of the group’s 2020 results.
The boss of the outdoor apparel and equipment giant, owner of Fjällräven, Tierra, Hanwag and Royal Robbins, and of specialised retail chains Naturkompaniet in Sweden and Globetrotter in Germany, saw the group’s revenue drop from €607 million in 2019 to €563 million in 2020, while net income fell from €61 million to less than €34 million.
Fenix Outdoor’s retail business - chiefly based in Scandinavia, where the group operates 35 Naturkompaniet stores, ten Friluftsland stores and 20 Partioaitta stores, and in Germany, with 17 Globetrotter stores - recorded a slump in revenue, which fell from €282 million to €264 million, although bolstered by an upswing in online sales. In 2021, the group will launch Naturkompaniet on the Norwegian market. Being the owner of multibrand retail chains, though the segment is struggling to be profitable, enables the group to boost its own brands, whose sales were just shy of €300 million in 2020, compared to €325 million a year earlier.
The group’s sales have improved in both Scandinavia and Asia, while the Americas region was hit hardest by the crisis. In 2021, the group is keen to benefit from the positive trend of outdoor sports, and to boost the visibility of Fjällräven with hiking enthusiasts, especially in the e-tail channel. As for Tierra, the aim is to strengthen the range of hemp-based products, and expand the collection targeting younger hikers. Finally, footwear brand Hanwag will celebrate its centenary this year.
While the pandemic’s effects are still being felt by the economies of many markets where the group operates, Nordin was keen to make a show of optimism.
“In Germany, where our stores, at the time of writing, have been shut since December 10, there is still no certainty as to when we will be able to reopen. This means that German retailers with a significant online presence are able to accept delivery of their spring pre-orders, while retailers that mostly operate physically have postponed delivery for their spring merchandise. Even though our order books are satisfactory, we don’t expect to be able to achieve a delivery volume in Germany on par with last year’s," said Nordin.
"We are currently working on how we can help our leading retailers to overcome this situation. We are expecting our digital business, and that of our retail clients with a digital presence, to grow in satisfactory fashion, making up at least in part for any sales shortfall.
"Even if this is by no means sure, we are confident that the majority of our clients will be able to compensate for the sales they lost between January and March in the course of the summer," he concluded.
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