There is no let-up in Fielmann's continued progress, and this was reflected in its share price. After a previously announced stock split on Aug. 22, the company's shares were trading at €49.05. In reporting its results for the first half of this year, during which the company's share price went up by 24.0 percent, the management expressed its usual confidence that the group will again be able to raise sales and profits in 2014. In comparison, the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange increased by only 3 percent.

The leading German optical retailer's consolidated sales rose by 7.2 percent to €613 million in the first half ended June 30, with a 7.0 percent increase in external sales including VAT to €717.8 million. Unit sales rose by 5.5 percent to 3.7 million pairs of glasses, indicating an increase in the average price.

Fielmann Consolidated Income Statement

('000 Euros, Second Quarter ended June 30)

 

2014

2013

%
Change

REVENUES

306,643

294,103

4.3

Other Income

2,597

2,743

-5.3

Cost of Materials

67,383

67,227

0.2

Personnel Costs

120,410

114,055

5.6

Depreciation

9,780

8,433

16.0

Other Expenses

63,130

62,678

0.7

Net Interest Income

97

86

12.8

Pre-Tax

48,232

45,195

6.7

Income Tax

14,420

12,970

11.2

Minority Interest

1,030

772

33.4

NET

32,782

31,453

4.2

Euro/Share

0.78

0.75

4.0

Fielmann's sales went up in Germany as well as in Austria and Switzerland. Across the group, which operated a total of 679 stores at the end of the period, they went up by around 6 percent during the six-month period. The consolidated turnover rose by only 4.3 percent to €306.6 million in the second quarter, but an official of the company noted that this was due to the Easter holiday falling at a different period of the year than in 2013 and other extraordinary factors.

Profit margins have improved, in spite of higher personnel expenses due to the scarcity of skilled opticians. For the first half of the financial year, Fielmann's pre-tax earnings were up by 16.1 percent to €107.2 million. Net earnings rose by 14.8 percent to €75.6 million with increases in Germany and Switzerland, but not in Austria, where they went down to €5.5 million on sales of €36.0 million from €34.5 million in the year-ago period. The drop in profitability was attributed by an official of the company to increased wages.

Net losses in the other two countries where Fielmann operates –Poland and Ukraine – increased to €2.2 million while sales declined to €14.3 million. The official said that this was entirely related to changes in foreign exchange rates, adding that no stores have been closed in either country.