As 2023 continues to be shaped by record-low consumer confidence levels, customers look for providers that offer guaranteed quality at the best prices. In optical and acoustic retail, this is the Fielmann Group. In Q1/2023, the German family business capitalised on its position as price leader and built on market share gains of 2022: sales and profits grew at double-digit rates.
In the first quarter of 2023, the Fielmann Group’s external sales (incl. VAT and inventory changes) rose by +15% over last year to €556 million (Q1/2022: €484 million). Consolidated sales also increased by +15% to €478 million (previous year: €414 million). The main driver was a strong volume growth in prescription eyewear (+8% TLY) as customers turned to the price leader. Furthermore, a favourable sales structure including more progressive glasses, the first-time consolidation of Medical Óptica Audición in Spain and a one-off insurance reimbursement for hearing aid repairs in Germany contributed to the strong sales development.
Germany increased Q1/2023 sales by +12% over Q1/2022 while Austria reached +13%. This development was aided by soft comparables at the beginning of 2022, as Germany and Austria were impacted by Covid-19-related lockdowns. Switzerland increased Q1 sales by +15% over last year, benefitting from an improved sales structure and a currency effect. Spain’s Q1 sales jumped by +44% over last year as double-digit volume and sales growth at Óptica & Audiología Universitaria was complemented by the first-time consolidation of Medical Óptica Audición. Our other markets grew their Q1 sales by +31% over last year thanks to double-digit growth in Italy and Poland as well as our successful expansion in the Czech Republic. Our Vision 2025 investments have led to a continued outperformance of our international markets (+24% sales growth in Q1 altogether) and our digital sales channels (+33% sales growth in Q1).
Q1’s strong topline development coincided with the first visible impact of our Cost Leadership Program, initiated earlier last year: Q1/2023 EBITDA and EBT increased by +18% over last year. Positive one-off effects such as an insurance reimbursement were partially offset by accruals of several million euros for the implementation of various cost leadership initiatives in Q1 as well as another pay rise for opticians and acousticians in our German stores in January.
FY2022 figures show that the Fielmann Group strengthened its position: In Germany, anticyclical price reductions led to a surge of volume market shares from 51% to 53% in 2022. Every second pair of glasses in the country is sold via our omnichannel network. Vision 2025 investments once again delivered returns: Digital sales channels and many international markets grew at double-digit growth rates.
In the year of its 50th anniversary, the Fielmann Group generated external sales of €2.03 billion (incl. VAT and inventory changes). Consolidated sales rose to €1.76 billion (+5%, previous year: €1.68 billion). Our international markets have reached net sales of €506 million altogether, representing an 11% increase over the previous year (€455 million). FY2022 EBITDA stands at €339.8 million (–14%, previous year: €396.1 million), while EBT amounts to €160.7 million (–23%, previous year: €209.7 million) and net income to €110.0 million (–24%, previous year: €144.6 million).
While the war in Ukraine and the resulting inflation continue to impact our Group, our position as price leader has allowed us to gain market shares across major markets in the last few months. This is a trend that is likely to continue. Our Vision 2025 investments ensure double-digit growth rates in our digital sales channels as we roll out our omnichannel platform. We expect our international markets to continue to contribute substantially to our development. With our recent acquisition in the Basque Country, significant sales growth in Spain is likely in 2023 and we plan for market leadership in the medium term.
For FY2023, the Management Board of the Fielmann Group (Fielmann Aktiengesellschaft) expects an increase of prescription eyewear volume of between 4% and 8% (8.9 to 9.2 million glasses), a rise of consolidated sales between 7% and 10% (€1.88 to €1.94 billion) and a growth of EBITDA between 9% and 21% (€370 to €410 million). This represents an EBITDA margin of 20% to 21% (previous year: 19.3%) for the full year. The EBT margin will reach between 9% and 11% (previous year: 9.1%).
Further acquisitions promise additional growth potential within our existing markets and beyond. The Fielmann Group is following its purpose internationally: To help everyone hear and see the beauty in the world.
Hamburg, 27 April 2023
The Management Board