Zalando once again hiked its sales and profit forecasts for 2021 after its revenues jumped in the first quarter by 46.8 percent to €2,238 million, marking the company’s strongest growth since it went public in 2014.
To keep up with the pace of expected future growth, the fashion-oriented e-retailer also announced plans to bolster logistics in Europe, adding five new fulfillment centers to its existing network of ten by 2023.
For the full year, Zalando now sees revenues growing by 26-36 percent to €10.1-10.5 billion, up from previous guidance for growth of 24-29 percent. The gross merchandise value (GMV) is seen growing by 31-36 percent to reach €14.0-14.6 billion compared to previous expectations for a growth of 27-32 percent. Adjusted operating earnings (Ebit) are forecast at €400-475 million versus €350-425 million previously.
Zalando, which had already raised its forecasts for 2021 with the release of its fourth-quarter 2020 results, said its new guidance reflects expectations of continued “elevated growth levels” in the second quarter and a stable outlook for the second half of the year. The company’s chief financial officer, David Schroeder, said the company continues to budget annual growth of up to 25 percent from 2022 to 2025.
In the first quarter, Zalando’s GMV jumped by 55.6 percent to €3,154 million, due to a continued rise in consumer demand for e-commerce offerings on its marketplace, which is becoming more international, under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with “outstanding” growth in its partner business. The average basket size after returns rose by 2.7 percent to €57.9.
The number of active customers reached 41.8 million at the end of the quarter, up from 31.9 million a year earlier, as site visits rose by 50.2 percent to 1,708 million.
Zalando’s first adjusted Ebit swung to a positive level of €93.3 million in the quarter, making for an adjusted Ebit margin of 4.2 percent, after reporting an adjusted operating loss of €93.3 million for the same period of 2020. The improvement was attributed to a strong sell-through and a continuously declining product return rate. The company posted a net profit of €34.5 million for the three months after suffering an €86.4 million loss in the first quarter of 2020.
Zalando said it is close to completing two new fulfillment centers in Rotterdam and Madrid that will become operational later this year. It will also begin construction on new centers in France, Germany and Poland in the next 12 months.