Last April’s acquisition of Sportamore and the Swedish group’s growing internationalization expanded the number of visitors and customers on its numerous websites across Europe, but reduced its profitability last year. With the inclusion of Sportamore for the last two months of 2020, the Swedish online shoe retailer reported a jump of 124 percent to 34 million in the number of visitors in the fourth quarter.

The number of new customers amounted to 315,000 in the quarter, pushing sales up by 27 percent to SEK 393 million (€38.8m-$46.5m) in spite of declines in the Swedish shoe market of over 19 percent in October, 47 percent in November and 44 percent in December. The quarterly operating income (Ebita) went up to SEK 17 million (€1.7m-$2.0m) from SEK 14 million in the year-ago period.

Sales increased by more than 150 percent this past January as compared to the same month of 2020.

For the full 2020 financial year, however, Ebita was down to SEK 11 million (€1.7m-$1.3m) from SEK 21 million in 2019 on a 10 percent increase in comparable sales to SEK 1,089 million (€107.5m-$128.9m). Adding Sportamore, the annual turnover reached SEK 1,750 million (€172.8m-$207.1m).

The company launched a new data-driven platform in November that integrates its recently acquired operations. ”We have run into 2021 with completely new shoes,” said Daniel Mühlbach, CEO of the group. “The platform is the central component of our value creation, which will accelerate as we integrate and launch more niche online stores that all use a common back-end. In 2021, our goal is to launch another 5-10 stores on the platform.“ First out was Caliroots, which was rolled out in all 24 markets served by Footway in early January.

Footway currently operates seven online stores in each of the 24 markets, which in practice means that 168 country-specific stores are now in operation. “As expected, there have been some teething problems, most of which could be treated relatively immediately, “ Mühlbach added. “An important next step is to achieve a critical mass of local data that the platform can use to tailor supply and offer for each store in each market.“

As the local amount of data increases, the leverage in the platform will become stronger,” he also said. In order to handle growth going forward, Footway will double this year the space of its automated warehouse in Eskilstuna.