The first half of this year was strongly influenced by a protracted Covid-19 pandemic as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine. The Fielmann Group’s preliminary external sales incl. VAT and changes in inventories for the first six months are expected to have risen to € 989 million (previous year: € 919.8 million), while consolidated sales increased to about € 851 million (previous year: € 789.6 million). In the second quarter external sales are projected to have grown to € 505 million (previous year: € 474.9 million) and consolidated sales will reach approximately € 437 million (previous year: € 407.7 million).
While this sales growth is in line with our Vision 2025 path, our cost structure in 2022 had been planned for more dynamic growth. Consequently, our profitability was disproportionately affected: For HY1/2022 we expect earnings of € 89 million (previous year: € 96.0 million), corresponding to a 10.4 % EBT margin. From April to June, the pre-tax profit will amount to about € 39 million (previous year: € 54.2 million).
While the pandemic continued to have an adverse impact on our sales levels, we increased and adjusted salaries in several markets to counteract the lack of skilled personnel. Across all functions, this led to additional HY1/2022 personnel expenses of around € 22 million. With respect to our main product categories, prescription eyewear and hearing aids delivered strong single digit growth while sunglasses and contact lenses benefited from the development of our omnichannel platform, growing well above 20 % compared to last year. As contact lenses and sunglasses however contribute lower margins, the changed product mix resulted in a negative gross profit impact of € 13 million. Additional costs weighing on profitability were intensified marketing activities and a solidarity initiative for Ukrainian refugees which had a total effect of € 11 million.
As the consequences of the war in Ukraine, persistently high inflation and rising interest rates are increasingly affecting consumer confidence and as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the sick leave rates among our employees, we expect external sales of circa € 2 billion (previous year: € 1.94 billion), consolidated sales of approximately € 1.8 billion (previous year: € 1.68 billion) and an EBT of more than € 190 million (previous year: € 209.7 million) for the full year 2022.