PRESS RELEASE 2012 BUSINESS YEAR: POSITIVE FREE CASH FLOW ACHIEVED - REVIEW OF COUNTRY PORTFOLIO INITIATED The main themes for Charles Vögele Group in 2012 were cash management and intensive product work. In the wake of the large outflow of cash in 2011, the company achieved its objective of re-establishing positive free cash flow. Net sales fell from CHF 1 016 million to CHF 972 million. Operating earnings before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved slightly on the prior year, by CHF 4 million to CHF -17 million. In parallel with taking the Group back to profitable growth, the Board of Directors is examining and analyzing the optimization of the organization with support from external specialists. Since the preparation and auditing of the Group's annual accounts are not yet complete, the results press conference and Charles Vögele Holding AG's Annual General Meeting are being postponed. Pfäffikon SZ, 1 March 2013 - 2012 was another eventful year for Charles Vögele Group. "The business environment remained challenging. The relevant clothing markets showed no signs of recovery, shrinking in all regions where Charles Vögele sells," is how Markus Voegeli, interim CEO of Charles Vögele, sums up last year. The unsettling effect of the euro crisis and excessive government debt, especially in Southern Europe, led to generally subdued consumer sentiment. From the operational point of view, the main themes for Charles Vögele Group in 2012 were cash management and the rigorous implementation and optimization of key business-specific measures. Positive free cash-flow - much better performance in second half of the year Charles Vögele focused on cash management in 2012. By significantly reducing procurement volumes in the second half of the year in order to integrate selected items from the 2011 autumn/winter collection into the new range, and by further reducing costs and restricting investment activity, free cash flow was improved by CHF 172 million to CHF 15 million. The group thus achieved the goal it had announced for 2012: "Stop the bleeding". The group's net sales went down by 4.4% to CHF 972 million. During the first quarter, the weak euro once again had a negative effect. CHF 16 million of the decline in sales was due to the depreciation of foreign currencies (mainly the euro) against the Swiss franc. In local currency terms the fall was 2.8%. Charles Vögele reduced its operating costs by a further CHF 27 million to CHF 619 million thanks to rigorous cost management. CHF 9 million of this was due to the depreciation of the euro. The gross profit margin improved slightly, from 61.5% in the prior year to 61.9%, thanks to better incoming margins and smaller price reductions in the second half of the year. More intense discounting activity in the first half of 2012 led to a CHF 23 million decline in gross profit for the year to CHF 602 million. By reducing discounts in the second half, gross profit was pushed up by around CHF 24 million compared with the second half of 2011 and by CHF 28 million compared with the first six months of 2012. Operating earnings before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved slightly compared with the prior year, by CHF 4 million to CHF -17 million. EBITDA in the second half of 2012 improved clearly compared to the first half of 2012 and to the second half of the previous year. In the second half of the year, the increased gross profit led to CHF 30 million higher EBITDA compared with the equivalent period of the previous year. The EBITDA figure for the second half of 2012 went up by more than CHF 27 million compared with the first six months to CHF 5 million. Optimizing the organization and focusing on core markets The Board of Directors of Charles Vögele Holding AG is currently evaluating the optimization of the organization and assessing opportunities to focus on the company's core markets. Since the start of the year all improvement measures being taken by the group have been analyzed with the help of external specialists. As part of this process the Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) Region country portfolio has been reviewed and the possibility has been examined of withdrawing from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Cutting out loss-making country organizations would enable Charles Vögele to reduce complexity within the company and focus on core markets. Charles Vögele Holding AG's results press conference and Annual General Meeting postponed Since the preparation and auditing of the Group's accounts are not yet complete, the Board of Directors has decided to postpone the results press conference to 16 April 2013 and the Annual General Meeting to 14 May 2013. By this time, the information required for the Board to make some further decisions will be available, as will the findings of the external specialists. Disclaimer All statements made in this media release that do not refer to historical facts are future-oriented statements which offer no guarantee of future performance. They are subject to risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, future global economic conditions, exchange rates, legal requirements, market conditions, activities by competitors and other factors outside the company's control. Charles Vögele Group is one of Europe's leading vertical fashion retailers. It offers the latest fashions at great prices to people in the prime of their lives who want to feel good. With attractively presented goods, combined with friendly, knowledgeable advice, it creates a relaxed and enjoyable shopping experience. Charles Vögele has 812 outlets in ten countries: Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In 2012 the Group and its approximately 6 700 employees generated gross sales of CHF 1.15 billion. Charles Vögele Holding AG's shares are quoted on the SIX Swiss Exchange (securities number: 693 777). Media release PDF Provider Channel Contact Tensid Ltd., Switzerland newsbox.ch Provider/Channel related enquiries www.tensid.ch www.newsbox.ch firstname.lastname@example.org +41 41 763 00 50
2012 BUSINESS YEAR: POSITIVE FREE CASH FLOW ACHIEVED - REVIEW OF
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