Big brands smash sales records in lockdown boom

As companies are filing their annual results, a number of big brands in the KBB world have reported soaring sales, in some cases smashing all previous records.

The home-improvement boom that followed the Covid lockdowns saw demand from consumers increase with, in many cases, suppliers and retailers struggling to keep pace with it. But it didn’t stop many brands racking up some very healthy sales and profits.

German taps and shower specialist Hansgrohe has reported its “most successful financial year in the company’s entire 120-year history”.

At a financial press conference at its Schiltach HQ, the company reported sales up by 27% to €1.365 billion (£1.14bn) from €1.074bn last year, with operating profit also up 27% from €190.7 million to €249.7m.

Commenting on the milestone results, chairman Hans Juergen Kalmbach said: “Extraordinarily high demand and developments in the raw material markets proved to be quite challenging. Everyone delivered a top performance, despite the ongoing pandemic situation, allowing us to supply and serve our customers with the Hansgrohe service they’ve come to expect.”

Duravit also reported record sales, with revenues topping €600m for the first time ever. In the 2021 financial year, the bathroom products supplier saw sales soar 28% to €604m from €469m in 2020 with operating profits climbing 41% to €73.7m.

Duravit chief executive Stephan Tahy said of the results: “The latest figures confirm that we’re on the right track and give us the confidence that we can achieve our goal of €1 billion by 2025.”

Much of the growth was to do with operations in China, said Duravit, where turnover exceeded RMB 1bn (€139m) for the first time.

Meanwhile, at Masco, whose many brands include Axor, Bristan and Hansgrohe, 2021 sales were up by 17% to $8.38bn (£6.37bn) with operating profits up 8% to $1.41bn. Said president and CEO Mark Allman: “We ended 2021 with another quarter of strong top-line growth, capping off an exceptional year.”

And despite supply challenges, appliance brands have also been doing well. Electrolux reported record sales for 2021, with turnover up 14.3% to SKr126bn (£10.8bn) and operating income up 18% to SKr6.8bn.

President and CEO Jonas Samuelson said: “Market demand was strong in 2021, as consumers continue to invest in their homes. We delivered record sales and earnings and met or exceeded all our financial targets through an attractive product and brand offering, and we successfully offset significant cost inflation through price increases. However, the global shortage of electronic components and logistic constraints impacted our ability to fully meet the high demand for our products.”

And kbbreview has already reported on Miele, who saw the best sales year in its 123-year history, with sales up 7.5% to €4.84bn. Chief executive Dr Markus Miele said: “Despite ongoing bottlenecks in the supply of semiconductors, we managed to produce and sell more appliances in 2021 than ever before throughout our 123-year company history. Sustainable growth will continue to determine our course.

On the retail side, Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and Screwfix, CEO Thierry Garnier spoke of an “outstanding year”, with group sales up 6.8% to £13.18bn and profits up by almost a quarter (24.7%) to £1.44bn.

Howdens also reported a record year in 2021 with group revenue up 35.3% to £2.09bn and profits more than doubling (up 110.6%) from £185.3m to £390.3m. Howdens chief executive Andrew Livingston said: “2021 was a very successful year for Howdens as we both delivered record financial results and progressed our strategic plans for the business. Our performance demonstrates the strength of our trade-only, in-stock local business model and our ability to meet heightened demand for our products.”

• Also see: Record quarter for Whirlpool

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