Forum Sport has posted its first decline in annual sales since 2012. The Spanish sporting goods retailer’s revenues amounted to €124.7 million in the financial year ended on Jan. 31, down by 0.9 percent from €125.8 in the previous year. After a record sales increase of 200 percent on Black Friday, the retailer was hoping to achieve an annual sales tally of €160 million. The results of Forum Sport, which is controlled by Grupo Eroski, include those of a chain of sports fashion stores called Doers.
Growth in e-commerce failed to offset a slowdown in the company’s physical stores, which still accounted for about 85 percent of Forum Sport’s sales. As reported in CMD Sport, the company’s chief executive, Diego Llorente, blamed the shortfall on delays in the implementation of a new digital platform and on a drop in Forum Sport’s search positioning on the internet because of changes to Google’s algorithm. The warm winters of 2019 and 2020 did the company no favors either, twice dampening sales from December to January, the final two months of Forum Sport’s financial year.
Projections for the current year are uncertain, but Llorente offered a range from €103.5 to €111.5 million in annual sales, or a decline of about 11 to 17 percent. Online sales, which enjoyed a boom during the recent retail lockdowns, should go up to between €21 million and €25 million.Thanks in part to the quarantines, e-commerce posted a year-on-year sales increase of 435 percent in May. June’s online sales increased by by 280 percent, accounting for 22 percent of all sales for the month. Forum Sport is projecting year-on-year increases of 150 percent for the coming months.
The pandemic has affected Forum Sport’s expansion as well. Plans for six new stores in 2020 are on hold and will depend on negotiations with current and prospective landlords, from whom the company is demanding rent discounts of 40 percent from pre-Covid-19 levels. The company hopes to open two or three stores before the year is out, said Llorente, but will open none at pre-Covid rents.
The focus is otherwise on digital, where the company’s investments have doubled, and on the shift toward a new omni-channel model. Forum Sport also wants to have more large stores with a surface of around 2,500 square meters, based on a new format. Five of the company’s 12 such stores in operation stem from conversions to the new format.