Fielmann Increases Market Share, Invests in the Future
Fielmann expects to increase unit sales during the first six months of the year by 1 per cent to a total of 4.05 million pairs of glasses. We have gained market shares in prescription eyewear, contact lenses and hearing devices. According to preliminary estimates, external sales are expected to grow by roughly 1 per cent to 823 million euro, while group-wide sales should see a 2.0 per cent increase to 711 million euro.
As the market leader Fielmann has used the available liquidity to strengthen its position in the market, to invest in digitalization and to accelerate its expansion. We anticipate earnings totalling 116 million euro before taxes for the first half of the year (previous year earnings: 123.6 million euro).
The foundation of our success is our skilled employees. By the end of the first half of the year Fielmann will have increased its number of employees by roughly 430 to a total of over 18,300.
Each year, Fielmann invests tens of millions in training and professional development. We offer our employees attractive remuneration packages and exciting career opportunities. As a result of an increase in salaries, we expect to see personnel costs in Germany rise by about 10 million euro in the first six months of 2018.
In the first half-year, Fielmann has also invested more in its digital capabilities and in its brand image. The impact on earnings will total roughly 2 million euro.
Fielmann is also accelerating its expansion in Italy. By 30 June 2018 Fielmann operates 12 Italian stores. 6 new openings in Italy are planned for the second half of the year. Additional up-front costs for these openings totalling roughly 2 million euro have been factored into the expected earnings for the first six months of the year.
The development of the Swiss franc will impact both segment sales and earnings before taxes. The effects are expected to amount to 6 million and 2 million euro, respectively.
In line with the forecast provided in our 2017 business report, we expect 2018 earnings before taxes for the entire year to be on par with those of the previous year. We anticipate an increase in unit and group-wide sales in 2018 similar to that of 2017.