For the past financial year, the Fielmann Group confirms external record sales of € 1.94 billion in line with its Vision 2025 growth path. Q1/2022 was affected by the protracted Covid-19 pandemic as well as the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. In this difficult environment, the Group’s business model has proven to be resilient: Thanks to our loyal customers and to our people, we generated +8.9% external sales growth over Q1/2021 and +10.7% over the pre-crisis level.
Financial year 2021
On 21 April 2022, our Supervisory Board approved the consolidated annual accounts for the past financial year: In 2021, the Fielmann Group generated external sales of € 1.94 billion (incl. VAT and inventory changes), a +18.9% increase over last year and about 10% over the pre-crisis level of 2019. Consolidated sales rose to € 1.68 billion (+17.4%). As such, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, our sales are in line with our Vision 2025 growth path.
As part of our Vision 2025, we are making significant progress in the digital transformation of our family business: In 2021, we deployed our omnichannel platform in Poland and the Czech Republic and launched our proprietary e-commerce solution for prescription eyewear in Germany. Across Europe, we delivered more than 1 million parcels to our customers (>30% to 2020) and our omnichannel services registered 22 million users (>15% to 2020).
The internationalisation of our Group gained pace: In 2021, the Fielmann Group strengthened its position in all major markets. We significantly extended our market shares in the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Spain. Our international markets continued to outperform, reaching net sales of € 455 million, a 53.2% increase over the previous year (€ 297 million). Our international markets' sales share increased from 21% in 2019 to 27% in 2021.
As reported in February this year, FY2021 earnings were depressed by our growth strategy as well as one-off effects. Nonetheless, FY2021 EBT grew by +19.5% to € 210 million and the net income for the year reached € 145 million (+19.7%). The Supervisory Board and the Executive Board are going to recommend a dividend of € 1.50 per share (+25% to 2021) to the Annual General Meeting in July.
The first quarter of 2022 was marked by a protracted Covid-19 pandemic with record infection levels across Central Europe as well as the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The Fielmann Group has been serving Ukrainian customers since 1999. With 269 employees we generated sales of about € 4 million in 2021. As a family business, the Fielmann Group extended employment guarantees to all Ukrainian staff and is providing additional assistance to dozens who have fled abroad. Our people who remain in Ukraine continue to receive their full salaries despite sales declining by 90% in March 2022. We will continue our assistance for our Ukrainian customers and people, currently amounting to more than € 100,000 per month.
Despite the ongoing pandemic and the outbreak of the war, the Fielmann Group was able to increase its Q1/2022 sales compared to 2021 and also compared to the pre-crisis level: External sales incl. VAT and changes in inventories increased by 8.9% to € 484 million. Consolidated sales rose by 8.5% to around € 414 million. Pre-tax profits rose disproportionately by 18.8% to € 49.6 million and the net income increased by 18.7%, reaching € 34.2 million.
Marc Fielmann, CEO of Fielmann Group, commented: “In a challenging environment, our Q1/2022 figures prove the resilience of our business model. In line with our Vision 2025 we have made significant progress in digitalising and internationalising our family business. In times of uncertainty, people prefer to buy from companies that offer excellent service and guaranteed quality at the best prices – in the eyewear industry this is the Fielmann Group.”
As at 31 March 2022, the Fielmann Group has rolled out its omnichannel platform to six countries and operates 922 stores (previous year: 875), 318 of which also contain hearing aid studios (previous year: 288).
The Fielmann Group will benefit disproportionately from a normali sation of the environment. We are going to invest about € 100 million in 2022 and expect strong growth for the full year. Our guidance of up to 10% sales growth and notable margin improvement is contingent on the assumption that neither restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic nor protracted consequences of the war are significantly affecting our business outside Ukraine. To help investors interpret the potential impact of these contingencies, we provide different scenarios with associated sales and profit expectations in our Annual Report.
Further information and details will follow at the Annual Press Conference on 28 April 2022.
Hamburg, 28 April 2022
The Management Board