Clas Ohlson 2021/22 nine month report

Profit growth and improvement

Quarter of the third quarter – from November 1 to January 31

  • Sales increased 7% to MSEK 2,831 (2,635), organic growth up 5% and up 5% in comparable units
  • Online sales increased by 14% to MSEK 329 (288)
  • Operating profit amounted to MSEK 378 (358). Excluding the effect of IFRS 16, the operating result amounts to MSEK 359 (342)
  • The operating margin is 13.3% (13.6). Excluding the IFRS 16 effect, the operating margin was 12.7% (13.0)
  • Net debt/EBITDA excluding IFRS 16 effect (12 months) amounts to
    -1.1 times (-1.2)
  • Profit after tax amounts to MSEK 287 (265)
  • Earnings per share amounted to SEK4.53 (4.18)

Nine months – from May 1 to January 31

  • Sales increased 4% to MSEK 7,004 (6,746), organic growth up 2% and up 2% in comparable units
  • Online sales increased by 21% to MSEK 750 (621)
  • Operating profit totaled MSEK 729 (672). Excluding the effect of IFRS 16, operating profit amounted to MSEK 672 (619)
  • The operating margin is 10.4% (10.0). Excluding the IFRS 16 effect, the operating margin was 9.6% (9.2)
  • Profit after tax amounted to MSEK 538 (486)
  • Earnings per share amounted to SEK8.49 (7.67)

Events after the end of the reporting period

  • Sales in February increased 8% to MSEK 534 (494), an organic increase of 4% and a like-for-like increase of 4%.
  • Online sales in February fell 9% to MSEK 63 (69).

CEO Kristofer Tonström comments on the third quarter 2021/22

I am proud of all the colleagues from Clas Ohlson who used salesmanship and engagement to successfully improve profits and increase sales in the most important quarter of the year, despite numerous external challenges. We had prepared for a more open market and saw a positive start to Christmas sales, but new restrictions limited customer attendance and quarantine rules and sick leave created further challenges. Additionally, price increases of, for example, food, fuel and electricity impacted our customers during the quarter. Despite this, we have continued to deliver on our customer promise with positive customer feedback on our product range and level of service. Total sales amounted to MSEK 2,831 for the quarter, an increase of 7% over the previous year. We also maintained healthy profitability with an operating profit of MSEK 378. In February, we increased our total sales by 8%, while our organic sales increased by 4%. Online sales fell 9% from a year earlier and increased 93% from February 2020. Last year’s online sales were affected by the fact that large parts of the Norwegian store network were closed due to restrictions.

Positive results in our priority areas
At the same time that we set new conditions for interacting with customers in the short term, as well as in negotiations with both suppliers and transport companies, we are working to develop our business over the long term. During the year, we were particularly focused on capturing and converting customer traffic, strengthening important product categories and increasing our online sales. It’s nice to see that all focus areas are developing well. Thanks to a relevant customer offer and fast and flexible deliveries from our distribution center and through our network of stores, we increased our online sales by 14% during the quarter. The conversion rate of our online channel continued to increase, with a particularly favorable trend in Norway and Finland.

Our Club Clas loyalty program is another key growth engine which now has over four million members. We are launching new offers that provide added value to our members, most recently regular member prices for a number of popular products. The next step for Club Clas is to use the potential we see to further expand our membership base in Finland and ultimately grow our category of most loyal customers. Customers in this category buy about four times more than the average member. To capture customer traffic in the market, we also made additional investments in marketing during the quarter, which benefits sales in the short term, but also creates a long-term effect with a stronger brand presence now. that customer traffic should increase. again.

We also saw continued progress in strengthening certain product categories during the quarter. For example, sales of cleaning items in our range have increased by more than 50% compared to last year and cooking and food storage have increased by almost 20% over the same period. We also saw that we were on track with our Christmas items, which essentially sold at the expected rate, meaning that we are entering the fourth quarter with strong inventory containing relevant products.

A relevant and accessible offer

It is gratifying that we are making clear progress in our priority areas, especially in light of a business environment in which many factors impact the purchasing power of customers. For this reason, we must, to an even greater extent, be able to convert the already large base traffic we have on our online shopping platform and in our 229 stores. Our wide and affordable range of everyday necessities is a key competitive advantage in this environment, making us relevant to customers in all market climates. The costs of transporting goods have remained relatively stable, but at a historically high level, while the costs of supply continue to increase. We are working in different ways to offset cost increases. For example, with a large share of private label products, we can choose where we want to be the price leader and where we want to take a slightly higher margin. the Chinese New Year, which took place the first week of February and caused the closure of many businesses in the country, had no significant impact on the transport of our goods. We are seeing a continued positive trend in the overall availability of our products, although there are shortages in certain product categories, just as there were earlier in the pandemic and where the war in Ukraine could lead to greater uncertainty in supply chains.

Sustainable steps towards future growth
We have reached new milestones in our ambitious sustainability program. A key initiative during the quarter is that we accelerated work with our updated assessment model for our products, which now sets even stricter requirements on, for example, material selection, workmanship and, importantly , the life of the products. Since the beginning of the year, we have been analyzing all new products that we sell under private label and we will further accelerate this work in the future and thus strengthen our position as the natural choice for customers who wish to make sustainable choices.

I would also like to say that it is with dismay that we have been able to follow the evolution of Ukraine in the last few weeks. Our thoughts go out to the millions of people directly or indirectly affected by the war. Clas Ohlson has no operations in Ukraine Where Russiabut our first step was to make sure we didn’t have employees traveling to those countries and we are now contributing with Clas Ohlson Foundation for UNHCR local work in Ukraine as we also continue our ongoing collaboration with world children’s foundationwho has worked for many years with local initiatives for the safety of children in the country.

To sum up the third quarter, we increased our sales and succeeded once again in improving our profitability. We have cash flow from operating activities of MSEK 634, which continues to strengthen our stable financial position. The investments we have made in our logistics system are another important foundation, which means we can increase our sales without compromising on delivery times and a positive customer experience. Additionally, we have a good and balanced inventory which makes us well equipped for the next quarter. Overall, this provides us with a solid platform from which we can grow. Combined with the lifting of restrictions ahead of the impending spring season, I see every opportunity to capitalize on market potential and create lasting customer and shareholder value going forward.

Webcast teleconference at 9:00 a.m.

President and CEO Kristofer Tonström and CFO Pär Christiansen will comment on the report at 9:00 a.m. CET today in a webcast conference call. The webcast is available via this link. The presentation will be in English and will be followed by a Q&A session.

To participate in the conference call, and thus be able to ask questions verbally, please dial one of the numbers below a few minutes before the start of the call:
SE: + 46850558354, UK: +443333009265, USA: +16467224902

An on-demand version of the webcast will be available at about.clasohlson.com/reports after the presentation closes.

For more information please contact:Niklas CarlsonGroup Communications Manager +46 247 44429, [email protected]

This is information that Clas Ohlson AB (publ) is required to make public in accordance with the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. This information has been submitted for publication, through the contact person listed above, to 7:00 a.m. CET to March 9, 2022.

Clas Ohlson was founded in 1918 as a mail order company in Insjön, Sweden. Today, we are a retail company with customers in four markets, around 4,500 people and annual sales of around SEK 8.3 billion. Our stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Many things have happened since the start in 1918, but one thing has remained the same over the years; that we want to help and inspire people to improve their daily lives by offering smart, simple and practical solutions at attractive prices. Visit about.clasohlson.com/en to learn more about us and our passion for making life easier in all kinds of homes.

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