2019 Financial Year
At its meeting on 16 April 2020, the Supervisory Board of Fielmann AG approved the consolidated annual accounts for the 2019 financial year. Fielmann has increased its unit sales to 8.28 million glasses (previous year: 8.15 million). External sales including VAT grew to €1.76 billion (previous year: € 1.65 billion) and consolidated sales rose to €1.52 billion (previous year: €1.43 billion). The pre-tax result increased to €253.8 million (previous year: €250.9 million), while the net income for the year went up to €177.3 million (previous year: €173.6 million).
The coronavirus pandemic significantly affects daily lives as well as the economy in Europe. Many countries have implemented tight measures to curb the spread of the virus in the first quarter of 2020. Beginning with the nationwide closure of stores in Italy from mid-March, Fielmann gradually brought all regular retail operations in its core and growth markets to a halt. The sales revenues temporarily fell by more than 80 percent.
The number of glasses sold in the first quarter of 2020 dropped by 14.4 percent to 1.7 million (Q1 2019: 1.99 million glasses). External sales including VAT and inventory changes decreased to €407.4 million (Q1 2019: €437.6 million). After a positive development in January and February, our performance in March significantly contributed to sales falling to €355.3 million (Q1 2019: €371.8 million).
Pre-tax profit was €17.6 million (previous year: €67.2 million), and the net income for the quarter amounted to €11.8 million (previous year: €46.9 million). As at 31 March 2020, Fielmann operated 776 stores (previous year: 737), 209 of which also contained hearing aid studios (previous year: 198).
Hygiene Standards protect customers and employees from the coronavirus
As a responsible family business, Fielmann acted early and decidedly, as the coronavirus spread across Europe. Together with Prof Dr Martin Exner (University Hospital Bonn), Fielmann has identified the biggest risks in optical and hearing aid retail as well as appropriate measures to counter them. Fielmann's science-based Hygiene Standards are summarised on the company's German website at www.fielmann.de/coronavirus.
Fielmann has implemented its Hygiene Standards across Europe since April 2020, equipping all stores with sufficient quantities of protective glasses, masks and hand sanitiser. As of 27 April 2020, Fielmann has resumed regular service hours in all German stores as well as in an increasing number of stores across Europe. The number of customers inside the stores will be limited, however, as people are asked to make appointments in advance by phone or online at www.fielmann.de/termin.
Measures to secure liquidity
Fielmann took measures at an early stage to secure the liquidity of the family company and to safeguard more than 20,000 jobs. All costs that are not strictly necessary were cancelled. In order to strengthen financial resources, the Management Board and Supervisory Board will propose to the General Meeting not to pay out the dividend, thereby securing a liquidity of €163.8 million for the company. For a majority of our employees, short-time work was already announced in March. As a responsible family-run business, Fielmann has supplemented the net income of employees to 100 percent.
Social commitment in the time of the coronavirus pandemic
Fielmann assumes social responsibility: as early as March 2020, Fielmann began to develop and produce protective glasses to help overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Besides respiratory masks, protective glasses are a key component of personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and medical workers. These glasses are used to shield from droplet infection - a significant source of infections with the coronavirus. After receiving the necessary permits, Fielmann donated the first 20,000 protection glasses to more than 300 hospitals and other medical organisations. Further information can be found on the company's German website at www.fielmann.de/service/schutzbrillen.
At the end of April 2020, the Fielmann Family used private funds to additionally donate 3 million protective masks to the federal states Brandenburg, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. This private donation to the German public is carried out by the holding company that bundles the Fielmann AG shares of Günther, Sophie and Marc Fielmann.
The restrictions to our regular business that are currently in place and are expected to continue in the weeks to come will have a negative impact on the number of units sold, sales revenue and profits. At the moment, it is not possible to make a serious forecast for the coming months and the year as a whole.
Over the past decades, Fielmann has emerged stronger from all kinds of structural reforms and crises. In difficult times, customers procure products from vendors that offer them guaranteed quality at the best prices - in the optical and hearing aid industry, that means they choose Fielmann.
Detailed information can be retrieved from our FY 2019 and Q1 2020 financial reports published on 29 April 2020.
Hamburg, April 2020
The Management Board