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The German fashion brand has reported globally stable results as a difficult market environment persisted in the first quarter of 2017.
Hugo Boss has reported a good performance in core markets UK and China in the first quarter, and sales growth in Europe and Asia are said to have more than compensated the decline in the Americas. According to the Group, sales in Europe increased 2% in the period to €412 million (Q1 2016: €402 million), with different timing of wholesale deliveries supporting regional sales performance. The UK registered a 7% growth attributed to solid local demand and growing tourist business. Sales in home market Germany are reported to have increased slightly, while France and the Benelux recorded an overall decline despite improving trends in February and March.
Performance in the U.S. is said to have improved sequentially, but sales are still down year-on-year. Canada and Latin America also recorded sales declines. Overall, sales in the Americas were down 4% to €125 million (Q1 2016: €130 million). In the Asia Pacific region, strong volume growth is reported to have driven double-digit comp store sales increase in Mainland China, but ongoing weakness in Hong Kong and Macau, combined with prior year store closures, have limited sales growth in China to 3%.
“In a volatile and in many parts of the world still declining market environment in premium and luxury apparel, we held up well. I’m particularly pleased with our performance in core markets such as the UK and China”, said Mark Langer, CEO, Hugo Boss. “Our growth in Germany demonstrates the strength of the brand on its home turf despite the price increase implemented last year. And while we continue to have work to do, we also made good progress in restructuring our US business”, he added.
According to Langer, the brand’s e-commerce business was down 27% in the first quarter, suffering from a double-digit decline of site visitors as well as from a deterioration of conversion rates. The Group intends to rebuild customer relationship management in-house, and to improve online sales performance as quickly as possible. It expects sales to remain largely stable in 2017, with growth in own retail compensating for a low to mid-single-digit sales decline in the wholesale. “2017 will be a ‘year of implementation’ and we will lay the foundations for bringing Hugo Boss back to profitable and sustainable growth”, said Langer in a speech during the publication of the quarterly statement.