Wolford reports worst sales in five years
Another year of falling sales for Wolford. The brand best known for its high-end hosiery saw its sales for the 12-month period from May 2017 to April 2018 decline 3% in comparison to the prior year. The company's revenue therefore dropped from 154 million euros to 149 million euros, hitting its lowest level in the last five years.
Among other reasons for this decline, Wolford has cited the brand's lack of creative director from April to September 2017, an absence which was felt in a spring/summer collection featuring few new products, which, in turn, translated into fewer purchases from distributors. The Austrian brand, in which Chinese investment firm Fosun acquired a majority stake in March, also highlighted the poor health of apparel retail in Europe, the company's principal market, a problem which has had a particularly negative effect on multibrand stores.
Wolford, which has reduced its personnel count by 111 people, dropping from 1,544 employees to 1,433, also reported varying profitability indicators, with a notable improvement in its operating loss, as well as a narrowing of its net loss, which reduced from 15.72 million euros to 9.22 million.
Wholesale fared the worst out of the company's market divisions, seeing an 8.4% drop in sales. Wolford, which controls 70% of its distribution and operates through 267 company-owned points of sale, including 107 branded locations, saw in-store sales decrease 3.7%. In contrast, its online sales, which currently account for 11% of its total revenue, increased 23%.
"From now on, our motto is "digital first". This will be applied through better use of social networks in order to target young consumers, but also through international partnerships with online distributors," the company explained in its annual results report.
Looking to the future, aside from its increased focus on digital, the brand also intends to develop its presence in Asia through local partnerships, and has particularly high hopes for a future expansion to Japan. In China, the brand has the support of its largest investor, Fosun, which is helping it to develop a strategy that will facilitate its entry into the country.
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