Li Ning sales leap by 13% in 2016, e-tail up 90%
The Chinese sport outfitter closed 2016 with sales worth €1.07 billion (CNY8.015 billion), up 13%, while gross margin grew 1.2 points to 46.2%. Net income also increased, reaching €133 million, compared to €107 million in the 2015 fiscal year.
Once again, the lion's share of sales was generated by footwear, with €524 million (+15.7%), while apparel sales were worth €472 million (+12.7%) and equipment/accessories followed with €62 million (+4.9%). Conversely, sales for third-party brands, such as Lotto, Kason and Aigle, slumped by 23.6%, down to €11 million.
Internationally, sales for the Li Ning brand itself grew by 36.4%, reaching €27 million. This is a mere 2.6% of the brand's overall revenue, Li Ning's business being firmly anchored on home soil. Though the share of sales for the north and south of China are balanced, at 49.1% and 48.3% respectively, sales in southern China grew at almost double the clip (+17.4%) than in the north.
As of 31st December, Li Ning operated a network of 6,440 stores (+5%). Of these, 4,829 are franchised stores (+4.6%) while 1,611 (+6.3%) are directly operated. The stores are mostly located in China, 3,151 of them in the north of the country and 3,289 in the south. Though Li Ning is an essentially Chinese business, the group has nevertheless ambitions for expansion abroad.
Li Ning's annual report stated that "our business currently covers 44 countries across Asia, Europe and the Americas. We believe that developing Asian countries will be our crucial [foreign] markets in the future (...) Cross-border e-commerce will remain our international team's main focus in 2017." This is hardly surprising, given that the brand's online sales skyrocketed in 2016, leaping up 90%.
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