By  on February 10, 2009

BERLIN — Douglas Perfumeries posted a 4.4 percent increase in sales in its first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, though on a same-store basis, sales were down 0.2 percent.

Sales at the 1,209-door perfumery chain reached 649.3 million euros, or $856.3 million at an average exchange rate for the period.

The company’s 449 Douglas doors in Germany grew sales 3.1 percent, or 1.4 percent on a same-store basis.

Sales for the remaining 760 doors rose 5.7 percent, due to numerous store openings as well as last year’s acquisitions in Bulgaria and Croatia, Douglas said. A total of 44 new stores were opened in the first quarter, 40 of them outside of Germany.

The German group did not detail earnings for its separate divisions, which also include book, jewelry, apparel and confectionary shops.

Group sales were up 4.3 percent, but down 0.4 percent on a same-store basis, to 1.12 billion euros, or $1.48 billion. However, earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation slipped 2.4 percent in the quarter to 172.2 million euros, or $227.1 million.

Douglas said earnings were impacted by relatively weak turnover outside Germany, coupled with high start-up costs for newly opened doors.

The group stated it does not plan to enter any new geographic markets in fiscal 2008-2009, but rather strengthen its existing ones. Douglas Perfumeries will take the lion’s share of the group’s planned investment volume of 140 million euros, or $182.6 million at current exchange, and aim to increase market share “through new openings and acquisitions,” the company said.

Despite difficult market conditions, the Douglas Group is holding to its forecast made last year of sales growth of 3 to 6 percent and pretax earnings of 100 to 150 million euros, or $130.5 million to $195.7 million, but said it would narrow the projection for pretax earnings when it releases six-month figures in May.

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