Wolford retains full year outlook despite first-half struggles
Hosiery brand Wolford has said that despite challenging weather impacting the European fashion market in the first half of the year, it expects the Christmas quarter to help it boost its full year operating profits.
The company is trying to remain optimistic after revenues dropped by 11% to €62.3m in the first six months of the year, with both retail and wholesale reporting declines of 9.3% and 10.3% respectively. Revenue fell by 10% when adjusted for currency.
The hosiery maker blamed the long summer for the sales decline, pointing out that fashion retail sales fell by 13% in Germany in September.
Meanwhile, the online channel generated a 14% rise in revenue, but this was not enough to boost the brand, which has been developing a new brand image and positioning to attract younger consumers.
Despite the sales performance, Wolford was keen to communicate a slight improvement in operating profits, narrowing its EBIT loss to €5.92m from €6.18m a year earlier as a result of a restructuring programme. However, one-off costs widened its loss after tax down to €7.33m from €6.62m.
Moving forward, the loss making luxury textiles maker will put a greater focus on the Chinese market, following its acquisition by China-based conglomerate Fosun earlier this year. Wolford is planning to “substantially” expand its market presence there, however it warned against having “overly high expectations” for the short term, indicating that trading conditions in the Chinese fashion market are likely to remain “difficult” in the foreseeable future.
Additionally, a new store concept is due to be rolled out in two Paris boutiques and one in Amsterdam in January, and its online shops are also set for a makeover to present the new look and positioning.
Despite the challenges in the first half of the year, Wolford expects the third quarter - which usually generates the highest revenue - to boost its full year sales and profits. The company will continue to implement cost cutting measures, with the aim of achieving its goal of a “positive” full year EBIT.
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