Dutch chain Hema still struggles in Belgium: over the past quarter, turnover in Belgium (and Luxembourg) dropped 4.5 %, after it had already dropped 0.4 % last year. However, overall, the company performed very well.
New French stores stimulate international turnover
Hema's total turnover grew 2.2 % to 270.3 million euro, thanks to French growth (+ 33.6 %) on the back of nine new stores. Aside from Belgium and Luxembourg, the chain experienced growth in all of its markets: the Netherlands (+ 0.7 %), Germany (+ 6.9 %) and the rest of the world (Spain and the United Kingdom: + 15.1 %).
Every product category also experienced turnover growth: clothing went up 3.7 % compared to 2015's first quarter, home and personal care grew 2.4 % and food climbed 2.2 % higher.
Loss: still huge, but becoming smaller
Several other indicators also went up: like-for-like turnover grew 1.2 % (although that is a smaller increase than last year), while normalized EBITDA jumped up 19.7 % (its highest increase since 2010). Gross margin went up thanks to lower costs (mainly when it comes to supplies) and smaller discounts. Hema says it welcomed customers more often and that it gained additional market share but refrained from saying how much.
Nevertheless, Hema still has to deal with losses: its first quarter net loss was 14.7 million euro, a number that does not displease the company. A year ago, its losses were 19.5 million euro, which means it is going the right way. CEO Tjeerd Hegen: "The improved results also led to a further reduction in our net loss. We are on track in terms of our long-term strategy aimed at the revitalisation of the Benelux operation, the acceleration of our international expansion and strengthening e-commerce. We will continue to focus on improving our operating processes and financial results."
The 90-year old company also mentioned Mariëlle de Macker (48), its new HR director, will join the board of directors on 1 September. Tanja Dik (47) is also now part of Hema's upper management: she will succeed Dolf Collee as a member of the commissary board.