Zalando has another good year but growth will slow as normality returns
Zalando has reported “exceptional” full-year growth for 2021 with the German e-tail giant saying on Tuesday that gross merchandise volume (GMV) was up 34.1% to €14.3 billion last year. And revenue rose 29.7% to €10.4 billion while profit on an adjusted EBIT basis was €468.4 million, up from €420.8 million a year ago. Net profit rose to €234.5 million from €226.1 million.
Those impressive figures came as it chalked up “significant customer growth with more than 10 million new customers”.
The company didn't mention the Ukraine crisis in its results report, but it did say that it expects sales growth to slow this year as life returns to normal and online sales are no longer artificially boosted by shopping restrictions at physical stores.
It expects 2022 sales to rise anywhere from 12% to 19%, to reach between €11.6 billion and €12.3 billion, while adjusted operating profit should be €430 million to €510 million, up from to €468 million last year. It’s also on track for GMV by 2025 of €30 billion+.
Looking back at 2021, the company said it “grew significantly faster than expected” and that it “continues to focus on strategic initiatives that will drive future growth”.
The year’s GMV growth was “driven by continued strong consumer demand for online offerings and increasing partner adoption of platform services”. But the financial performance started to “normalise” during the second half, as expected, given the gradual reopening of European economies.
Co-CEO Robert Gentz said: “We are very pleased with our strong results, which demonstrate that we have the right strategy in place to succeed irrespective of the market environment. Our new customer growth and strategic progress in 2021 underline the immense opportunity ahead of us.”
And that customer growth really was crucial in 2021 with the firm significantly expanding its reach to now serve more than 48 million active customers across 23 markets. That includes six new markets launched over the course of last year: Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Customers also ordered more than ever before with 5.2 average orders per active customer.
The group’s membership programme, Zalando Plus, played “an important role in deepening customer relationships” and Plus members visited the site twice as often and spent three times more than non-Plus customers. The programme passed the 1 million membership milestone in early 2022. After expanding it to the Netherlands, France and Italy in 2021, it will double the number of Plus markets by the end of 2023 from four markets currently.
Meanwhile, it said its Partner Program and Connected Retail offers were also important and between them now account for 30% of Zalando’s Fashion Store GMV, up from 24% in the prior year. It has more than 5,800 brand partners and almost 7,000 connected stores
The company said that “as its successful platform transition supporting partners, Zalando is on its way to achieving its target of 50% of Fashion Store GMV attributed to its Partner Program and Connected Retail”.
It also said it’s planning to invest further in its European logistics network. It currently has an already-huge online fashion logistics networks in Europe with 12 fulfilment centres in seven countries. The company will add four such centres to the existing network “by 2023”, while total capital expenditure in 2022 is expected to range between €400 million and €500 million.
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