Sweden’s New Wave Group swung to a record first-quarter operating profit, driven by lower costs, despite a sales decline during the period.
The operating profit for the three months to March 31 came in at 100 million Swedish kronor (€9.9m-$12m) compared with a loss of SEK 24.1m (€2.4m-$2.8m) a year earlier. The operating margin hit a record level of 7.9 percent, compared with a negative 1.7 percent ratio a year earlier.
The company, which owns brands including Craft and Cutter & Buck, while distributing Speedo and other brands locally, said profits recovered in its Sports & Leisure unit to SEK 54.5m (€5.4m-$6.5m) from a loss of SEK 16.8m a year ago thanks to a better gross profit margin and cost savings.
The division’s net revenues fell by 9 percent to SEK 533.1m (€53m-$63.6m) as Covid-19 led to major sports events being cancelled along with curbs on local sports clubs.
Sales in New Wave’s corporate segment decreased by 20 percent, dragged down by the U.S.
Total group sales were off by 7 percent in local currencies and by 12 percent in Swedish kronor, falling to SEK 1.26 billion (€125.5m-150.3m), with foreign exchange headwinds impacting sales by SEK 78.9m (€7.8m-$9.4m).
Sales in the U.S. fell 28 percent, with decreases in all segments. They rose by 11 percent in Sweden, with revenues up in all segments. Sales in Central Europe were down by 9 percent with higher revenues in the Sports & Leisure division offsetting a fall in corporate revenues.
The Nordic countries excluding Sweden saw sales fall by 10 percent due to lower corporate revenues, while Sports & Leisure and Gifts & Home Furnishings increased. Southern Europe was up by 7 percent and Other Countries fell by 45 percent due to the corporate segment’s trading business.
Refraining from giving more precise guidance because of the Covid pandemic, the group’s CEO, Torsten Jansson, said that “we expect it to be more relaxed during the third and fourth quarters, but the second quarter is still hard to assess due to restrictions, lock-downs and recommendations.”