Distribution & Logistics
The Distribution & Logistics (D&L) segment showed attractive sales trends. Primary sales drivers were the new online shop (www.sfs.ch) and the tools business. Profitability also showed a positive development.
Sales rose by 3.6% from the prior year to CHF 334.5 million. Taking the divestment of the security systems business into account, organic growth was at 5.1%, well above the increase in Switzerland’s gross domestic product, which serves as an important reference for assessment of development of the D&L segment. In particular, the tools business and construction-related product areas achieved strong growth. Sales activity in the second half was slightly weaker compared with the first half of the year. In addition to softer demand, this slight decline can be traced to the divestment of the D&L segment’s security systems business in the first half of 2018.
D&L addresses the varying needs of its customers and establishes a distinct profile in the market by offering a choice of sales channels. During the period under review, D&L strengthened its presence and activities in the online sales channel. In February 2018, it launched the new online store (www.sfs.biz). With this website, SFS offers professionals in the construction, industrial and skilled trades sectors a modern and user-friendly platform. The new online store was eagerly welcomed by established and new customers and delivered some pleasing growth.
Besides the digital sales channel, the segment’s network of retail pick-up points was improved with the inauguration of a new HandwerkStadt store (retail shop) in Zurich-Altstetten and a new modern corporate design in line with the renovation of several other pick-up points. The now 28 pick-up points were also integrated into the online offering: for example, express orders placed online can be picked up at the chosen pick-up point within two hours.
Profitability improved during the year under review. EBIT rose to CHF 25.8 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 7.6% (previous year 6.9%, adjusted). An increase in procurement costs and a time lag in passing these higher costs through to the customer had a negative impact on profitability in the first half.