Zalando Sales Concern Eases as Web Retailer Defies Weather

  • Shares jump, even as fourth-quarter revenue misses estimates
  • Mild temperatures have hampered clothing sellers across Europe

German online apparel retailer Zalando SE reported growth of at least 30 percent in fourth-quarter sales, easing concern over the impact of a mild holiday season in Europe.

Sales rose as much as 31 percent and were in a range of 865 million euros ($941 million) to 872 million euros, the Berlin-based company said in a statement Tuesday. The shares jumped, even though revenue was slightly below the average 876 million-euro estimate.

“Winter seems to be delayed this year, but might have some positive impact on the fashion industry in the first quarter,” Christoph Sandner, an analyst at Main First Bank AG, said by phone.

Zalando, spun out of the Samwer Brothers’ Rocket Internet startup incubator, has been reckoning with a warm Christmas season in Europe that’s also hit retailers including Hennes & Mauritz AB. The shares have tumbled this month as analysts anticipated a tough holiday sales period. They rebounded Tuesday, and were up 7.1 percent at 31.84 euros as of 10:37 a.m. in Frankfurt.

“It was probably the warmest fourth quarter we’ve ever seen,” managing board member Rubin Ritter said in an interview. “The real winter items weren’t in such strong demand.” Zalando was able to adjust its purchasing during the quarter and be “flexible” in its assortment, he said.

Earnings before interest and tax were in a range of 61 million euros to 78 million euros. Analysts expected 65.8 million euros, according to the average estimate of analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

The company plans to report full results for last year on March 1.

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