Distribution & Logistics
The D&L segment defended its market position and further strengthened its profitability. Key drivers were the tools business and intensified multi-channel activities.
The D&L segment generated sales of CHF 326.0 million in the period under review, a slight decline of –2.5% from the prior-year figure. Changes in scope of consolidation and foreign-currency translation had a negative effect on sales of –1.3% and –0.4%, respectively.
Although positive organic growth of 0.3% was realized in the first half, it turned slightly negative in the second half. This is attributed to the generally observed downturn in demand in the course of the year, in particular from our industrial customers. However, the market position was further strengthened with the acquisition of new customers for the D&L segment’s innovative logistics systems.
Business activity within the segment was broadly based. As in the first half, the tools business, the HandwerkStadt sales channel and the online store made a positive contribution to growth. With the opening of a new store in Mellingen (canton Aargau, Switzerland) in November 2019, the HandwerkStadt network now comprises 29 locations.
With its selection of different sales channels, D&L addresses the different needs of its customers and differentiates itself in the marketplace. During the period under review, D&L expanded its network of specialty retail stores, further enhancing its customer proximity. The now 29 pick-up points are integrated into the offering of the online store (www.sfs.ch). This means, for example, that express orders placed online can be picked up at one of the retail stores within just two hours. Further optimization of the online store, such as the integration of CAD data, fast checkout and the possibility of scanning barcodes with a smartphone increased the user experience of the digital shopping platform. This puts the conditions in place for future, above-average growth from the digital sales channel.
The trend of rising profitability already observed in the previous financial year was successfully maintained despite the more challenging economic environment. D&L generated adjusted operating profit (EBIT) of CHF 26.2 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 7.9%. Compared to the previous financial year, profitability was thus increased, on a comparable basis, by 30 basis points.
Due to book gains on the disposal of two properties, reported EBIT amounted to CHF 40.5 million.
Amid a still challenging environment, the D&L segment expects a stable sales trend in the coming financial year.