Jan 27, 2017
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Europe good, China tough for Etam in 2016, but Q4 improves

Jan 27, 2017

French intimates and womenswear giant Etam Développement had a mixed time of it last year with some geographies performing well and others proving more sluggish, while Q4 saw improving sales trends compared to a tougher time earlier in the year.

Etam saw strong business in France last year and Q4 was good for the retailer

First the good news. Q4 group sales rose 5.9% year-on-year to €367.9m. That rise came even with the negative impact of currency effects (mainly due to the depreciation of the Chinese yuan against euro) that wiped €5.1m off the sales figure. Comparable sales without those currency issues taken into account were up a healthy 5%.

But for the full calendar year, net sales were broadly flat at €1.292bn and down 1% on a comparable basis. The total sales figure included a currency impact of €19.7m because of yuan’s slide.

That slide made for tough times in China for Etam. In Q4, its sales there fell 9.2% to €100.9m with comp sales down 8.3%.

Sales in China continued to be hurt by falling visitor traffic and a consumption slowdown affecting department stores. The company said to address this, it is embarking on a brand repositioning, as well as “store network adaptation” and development of the E&Joy brand and lingerie business in shopping malls.

But at least the rate of decline eased in Q4 as the full-year figure shows. Chinese sales fell 12.3% during the 12-month period, dropping to €365.9m, with comps down 9%.

There was a much brighter picture in Europe though as Q4 sales rose 13% to €267m, or a 9.4% comps rise. During the quarter, in-store and e-tail sales rose in all European and export countries, for all brands and in both lingerie and ready-to-wear.

The company said such a good performance in a difficult environment reflected its “quality of execution and positioning of each of the brands.”

And full-year sales for Europe rose too, albeit by a lower amount. 2016 sales came in at €926.2m, a 5.4% increase, or a slim 1.7% rise on a comps basis.

In particular, the group's sales in France grew significantly more than those of other specialist chains (according to data from the Institut Français de la Mode) and its lingerie brands continued to gain market share.

As of December 31, the Etam Group had 3,906 points of sale, including 988 in Europe, 2,596 in China and 322 international franchises.

And it continued to open new locations last year. Its new stores were mainly for its lingerie business and included a debut in Thailand with the opening of 11 Etam stores. The firm added to the 1.2.3 network in France and abroad with 26 new locations. And it launched its website for Poland while Undiz launched a Spanish site.

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