Billabong revenue down in last fiscal year despite second-half rally
Australian board sport group Billabong, the owner of Billabong, RVCA and Element, has some reason to be satisfied for the fiscal year 2016-17, closed at the end of June. The group underlined how it has improved its stock management, and posted a comparable sales growth of 2.3% in its US stores, now a smaller but better-run network. E-tail revenue has increased too, rising globally by 22% and was the strongest growth driver for the group's three leading brands, though online sales still account for less than 5% of the group's overall revenue. Above all, Billabong notably improved its margins in the course of the last fiscal year, and posted stable EBITDA at AUD51.1 million.
"In the second half of the year, EBITDA at constant exchange rates grew 50%, by far the most significant increase we recorded since the group's recapitalisation in 2013," said Billabong CEO Neil Fiske. "Results in the Americas enable us to be confident about the region, which was often heralded as our greatest opportunity and is now on a positive track."
However, the last fiscal year was a tricky one for Billabong, notably due to a troubled first half. Revenue in fact declined by 4.7%, down to less than AUD975 million (€640 million). In the Americas, sales fell by more than 10% after exchange rate adjustments, to less than AUD433 million. In Asia-Pacific, the group was hit by the very weak performance of its Australian stores, whose comparable sales fell by 5%, while overall the group's Asia-Pacific revenue lost 7.1%, reaching AUD367 million. Finally, in Europe, revenue fell by 9.3% to less than AUD175 million, despite a rally by Billabong in the second half of the year. The UK situation in particular, after the Brexit vote, is affecting the group's European business. Overall, the group's net income for the last fiscal year was in the red, with a net pre-tax loss of AUD8.4 million.
For the current fiscal year, Billabong is seeking to improve its margins, thanks to the ongoing streamlining of its logistics organisation and the growing impact of its omni-channel strategy. Sales-wise, the group is forecasting growth in the Americas and Europe, and expects another slow-down in the Asia-Pacific business, as the retail environment in Australia continues to be troubled.
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