Rising costs and falling consumer confidence are affecting Dutch webshop Coolblue, which saw its sales growth stalled and profits halved. However, CEO Pieter Zwart says his company will not cut jobs and instead aims to open five new stores this year.
Margins under pressure
Coolblue ended 2022 with a tiny sales growth of 0.6 % to 2.35 billion euros. That very slight growth was earned in Germany, where sales now stand at 174 million euros. According to a press release, the Coolblue Energy division too is “growing like crazy”. The company is also winning market share in product groups such as washing machines and laptops in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Gross profit (ebitda), however, halved from 88.6 million euros to 43 million as costs are rising, margins on electronics are under pressure and the company invested further in Germany, Zwart explained to Dutch newspaper FD.
Coolblue’s figures are not surprising: many e-commerce companies are struggling as online sales are falling now that the corona measures are behind us. Moreover, inflation put pressure on purchasing power and consumer confidence.
Closest rival Bol.com saw its sales decrease as customers watch their spendings more closely. Large online platforms like Amazon and Zalando are also under pressure and need to reorganise. Of that, though, there is no question at Coolblue: “We have ambitious plans for the coming year, whether it concerns new stores or Coolblue Energy. We need people for that.” This year, the retailer will open five new stores, two of which are in Belgium – including one in Mechelen. The company also expects a lot from further growth in Germany.