REPORT_ Ahlers has been able to defy this general trend in 2014. The company’s strong growth of the first half-year continued inthe third quarter of 2014, when sales revenues rose by 8.6 percent. Nine-month sales climbed 7.9 percent to 197.9 million euros (250 million dollars).
Ahlers‘ Premium segment reported an 8.2 percent increase in sales revenues, which was almost in line with the company-wide trend, and again contributed 65 percent to total Group revenues. This pleasant performance was attributable to Pierre Cardin, which posted high single-digit growth, and to Baldessarini, which achieved double-digit growth. The strongest growth in the 2013/14 reporting period was posted by the Jeans & Workwear segment, whose revenues grew by 10.4 percent. Both Pionier Workwear and the Pioneer/Pionier Jeans brands contributed to this growth. As this growth exceeded the company-wide trend, the segment’s relative share in total sales revenues increased from 26 to 27 percent.
Jupiter posted strong revenue growth in the third quarter of 2014, which means that the decline in the Men’s & Sportswear segment‘s sales of the previous months was almost entirely offset in the third quarter of 2014. Total nine-month sales revenues were down by 1.8 percent on the previous year. The decline was primarily attributable to the discontinuation of Gin Tonic’s retail activities in the previous year. Gin Tonic’s Wholesale business with retailers picked up this year. In spite of the closure of Gin Tonic stores in the previous year, Ahlers‘ own Retail revenues increased by 3.1 percent due to the opening of further Pierre Cardin, Baldessarini and multi-brand stores.
Like-for-like sales revenues also picked up by 8.2 percent in the reporting period. The company’s own retail operations contributed 10 percent to total sales revenues. Posting a 55 percent increase, the e-commerce business continued to grow dynamically from a low base. Due to the high revenue growth, gross profit also increased by a strong 6.9 percent. The moderate decline in the gross profit margin from 51.6 percent to 51.1 percent is attributable to higher revenues in the winter sale months at the beginning of the year.
At the half-year stage of 2013/14, the Management Board of Ahlers had announced that the Sindelfingen branch would be closed within the next twelve months and that Gin Tonic would be relocated to the headquarter in Herford following successful reorganisation. If stock sales continue at the prior year level and most of the goods ordered actually be sold, sales revenues are expected to remain stable in the fourth quarter. This is expected to result in full-year revenue growth of 5 to 6 percent for the Ahlers Group. The Management Board expects both the operating result before special effects and earnings before taxes to increase at a double-digit rate.