Safilo Group Reports Sales and EBIDTA Gains in Third Quarter

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PADUA, Italy—The board of directors of Safilo Group has reviewed and approved its Q3 and the first nine months of 2020 economic and financial key performance indicators. As anticipated by the Group in an announcement on October 1, in the third quarter of 2020 Safilo’s sales and economic results recorded a significant recovery compared to the severe downturn experienced in the first half of the year following the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent, extensive lockdown measures.

Safilo has reported that its Q3 net sales reached €219.1 million, growing by 3.0 percent at current exchange rates and 6.0 percent at constant exchange rates compared to the same quarter of last year. Key positive drivers were represented by the significant rebound experienced by the wholesale market in North America, and the full-quarter contribution deriving from the recent acquisitions of Blenders Eyewear and Privé Revaux. The latter, together with the continuing progress recorded by Smith’s D2C sales and by the Group’s business generated through internet pure players, propelled Safilo’s total online sales to around 16 percent of Group total turnover.

In the third quarter, the positive sales development and the ongoing implementation of the Group’s cost saving actions and contingency measures allowed Safilo to return to a positive adjusted EBITDA of €14.3 million, up 9.3 percent compared to the same quarter of 2019.

In general, the recovery of Safilo Group’s organic business in the third quarter of 2020 was driven by the following:

• A strong performance in North America, where the Group’s organic revenues were up 12.1 percent at constant exchange rates, mainly due to the solid sales recovery experienced by independent optical stores, Safilo’s most important distribution channel in the U.S. All of Safilo’s core licensed brands, from Kate Spade to Tommy Hilfiger to Jimmy Choo, enjoyed a solid momentum driven by the growth of the prescription frames business.

The quarter in the market was a strong confirmation for Smith products, which recorded double-digit growth in the sports store channel and more than doubled their turnover in online channels. In North America, the Group's total sales, including the new brands acquired, stood at €113.1 million, up 41.5 percent at current exchange rates and 45.9 percent at constant exchange rates compared to the same quarter of 2019.

• Mixed trends in Europe, with net sales equaling €79.3 million, down 17.0 percent at current exchange rates and 16.4 percent at constant exchange rates (-15.2 percent for the wholesale business). In Italy and in all the main countries of the region, sales to independent optician stores posted positive performances, growing in the different markets from mid-single digit to double digits compared to the same quarter of 2019. In Europe, the sales generated through the internet pure players confirmed their strength. On the other hand, the recovery in order taking remained subdued, although improving compared to the second quarter of the year, in specialty channels such as boutiques, in travel retail and in big chains.

• The significant business improvement in Asia Pacific, reducing the gap compared to the same quarter of the previous year, with net sales of €15.9 million down 9.4 percent at current exchange rates and 6.4 percent at constant exchange rates. The continued hardship of the travel retail business, down in the region by 63 percent, was more significantly offset by the surge recorded by Safilo in Mainland China, where supportive domestic demand and the contribution of the Group’s new brands, namely Levi’s and Ports, pushed sales up 83 percent at constant exchange rates.

• Continued sales weakness in the rest of the world, where Latin America and the IMEA countries remained strongly impacted by the pandemic and the economic downturns still affecting Brazil, India and Middle East markets. Net sales in the area were €10.9 million, down 45.2 percecnt at current exchange rates and 35.6 percent at constant exchange rates.

In the third quarter of 2020, the organic online sales grew around 94 percent at constant exchange rates, due to the growth of Smith's D2C business and the Group's sales through its internet pure players. In the third quarter of 2020, Safilo's total online sales, including the acquisitions, represented around 16 percent of the Group's net sales, up from around 3 percent in the same period of 2019.

Safilo CEO Angelo Trocchia said, “After we were heavily impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and the consequent global lockdowns between the first and the second quarters of the year, in the third quarter our business had a positive reaction reflecting, on one side, the sales rebound recorded in July as an expected catch-up effect after the strong H1 pandemic impacts, and, on the other side, a dynamic U.S. market continuing into August and September, making North America the main driver of our recovery.

"It is also important to note that in the third quarter, all our core markets and channels recorded an improvement compared to the first half of the year, from outstanding growth in China to more positive results in some of the main European markets such as Italy, Germany and France, while the IMEA countries, Latin America and the travel retail channel remained key hurdles to a full recovery. As we continue to progress on the strategies set out in our Group Business Plan, seizing the additional opportunities provided by the current market environment, in the third quarter our direct-to-consumer strategy gained additional speed and relevance.

"This was thanks to the ongoing success of our Smith e-com business, and to the strength of our recent acquisitions, Blenders Eyewear through its advanced e-com platform, and Privé Revaux leveraging on its social marketing skills to expand its reach offline and online. There are again significant uncertainties in front of us due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the business environment, as we enter November and the very important holiday season with a new wave of infections emerging in several countries. Once again, therefore, a very complex business context in which our most important priority remains that of preserving the health of all the people who work at our offices and sites, guaranteeing, at the same time, the widest possible use of smart-working.

“We therefore continue to maintain a very prudent stance for the remainder of the year, and we remain committed to providing timely updates to all our stakeholders on the evolution that the business will have in the coming months,” Trocchia said.