First quarter sales reached €109.7M, down by 1.6% (1.3% at constant rates) following contrasting fortunes in the different countries.
France and Belgium have had very satisfactory starts to the year. They have grown respectively by 5.7% and 8.1% on the quarter, buoyed by good business in the shops, and between them have contributed to 74.2% of group sales.
The remaining countries, on the other hand, saw business decline at the start of the year. Switzerland finished the quarter down by 21.8% (18.3% at constant rates) and Japan, where the company is in the process of moving out, was down by 33.9% (24.2% at constant rates).
As for the UK, business fell by 18.1%. This poor performance was due to a particularly difficult set of circumstances where problems in logistics were compounded by a series of postal strikes affecting orders and deliveries.
Excluding the UK, where these conditions were exceptionally tough, group sales actually finished up by 4.1% for the quarter.
As stated in September, actions launched over the last period are expected to kick in this year with an upturn in results.
So far, trends in sales and the main cost areas lead us to confirm this objective. Although, whether it is actually achieved will depend largely on the outcome of the postal dispute in the UK. Second and third quarter results will be decisive as they account for almost 60% of the group's business.
Damartex is one of Europe's leading distributors of clothing and accessories for seniors. The company sells through catalogues (home shopping) and stores with its main markets in France, Great Britain and Belgium.