As expected, the acquisition of Rip Curl helped Kathmandu Holdings to raise its total sales by 48.7 percent to 801.5 million New Zealand dollars in the “transformational” financial year ended on July 30, with the action sports brand contributing sales of NZ$ 315.7 million (€178.2m-$210.6m) in the first nine months under the group’s ownership. Over the 12-month period, Kathmandu contributed sales of NZ$ 426.4 million (€240.7m-$284.5m), and Oboz NZ$ 59.4 million (€33.5m-$39.6m).
According to its annual report, Rip Curl also boosted the group’s turnover in Europe to NZ$ 25.6 million (€14.4m-$17.1m) from just NZ 3.5 million, and more than doubled it in North America to NZ$ 131.3 million (€74.1m-$87.6m). The two regions represented 23 percent and 16 percent of the brand’s sales during the period, respectively, generating 21 percent and 15 percent of its gross margin in the last 12 months.
However, a negative impact on revenues of around NZ 135 million (€76.2m-$90.1m) from Covid-19 led the group to book comprehensive net income of only NZ$ 9,930,000 (€5,604,537-$6,625,627) for the year, down from NZ$ 27.9 million the year before. Underlying Ebitda declined by 15.3 percent to NZ$ 83.4 million (€47.1m-$55.7m).
To help offset the pandemic, the group boosted its online sale activities, which rose by 63 percent to NZ$ 106.4 million (€60.1m-$71.0m), representing 15.7 percent of direct-to-consumer sales and contributing to the the overall profitability. Kathmandu employed Uber to deliver products within the same day to confined customers in Sydney and Melbourne.
On the other hand, sales at physical stores rebounded after the end of the retail lockdowns. By the end of the financial year, the group owned 165 Kathmandu stores and 160 Rip Curl stores worldwide. Oboz had no mono-brand stores – offline or online – but the American footwear brand plans to launch its own web shop during the current financial year.
The group also counted 26 joint venture stores and six websites for Rip Curl, plus four Kathmandu web shops. While Kathmandu had only 28 wholesale accounts, Rip Curl and Oboz were trading through 5,786 and 1,749 doors, respectively.
Delivering a positive outlook, the management said that its brands are well positioned to capitalize on increased participation in outdoor, beach and surfing activities after the Covid-related lockdowns.
Kathmandu reported on an “incredible” success with the release by Rip Curl in July of a limited-edition E-Bomb E7 wetsuit, featuring high-stretch neoprene with internal Thermo lining in a one-piece panel running from wrist to wrist over the upper body.
In outlining its results for the year, the group included Rip Curl for the first time in its sustainability report. It said that the Kathmandu brand is on track to reach a goal of net zero environmental harm by 2025. It opened the first solar panel store in Australia and won Rainbow Tick certification in New Zealand for diversity and inclusion. Women represented 59 percent of the group’s managers in the past year. The ratio improved to 41 percent at Oboz, but there were still many more men than women at Rip Curl.