Douglas hit by European lockdowns, second-quarter sales down 12.5%

Douglas' flagship store in Berlin

German beauty retailer Douglas’ sales fell 12.5% on a like-for-like basis in the second quarter of 2020/21 (from January to March) to €551m. On a half-year basis, sales were down 8.2% on a like-for-like basis. The retailer’s performance was impacted by pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions throughout Europe.

Brick-and-mortar sales fell 48.7% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. The company says its e-commerce business growth offset the sharp declines in its brick-and-mortar business.

E-commerce business sales rose 75.5% year-over-year to €291m in the quarter, a record for the company. In Germany, online sales increased 61% to €175m compared to the same quarter a year prior. Share of sales on mobile devices in Germany were up by four percentage points to 67%.

E-commerce growth rates in other regions were higher due to a lower base comparison. For example, e-commerce sales in Southwestern Europe rose 106% year-over-year in the second quarter, while Eastern Europe’s grew 121%.

EBITDA for the quarter came in at negative €1m, a figure that represents a €13m drop in earnings.

Douglas’ most important market Germany was hit hard in the first three months of 2021 due to pandemic-related restrictions, which are still in place. Alternative shopping options like Click & Collect and Click & Meet were unable to compensate for the impact of the restrictions.

Douglas Group CEO Tina Müller said: “Our store-based business has been heavily impacted by the comprehensive lockdowns and other far-reaching restrictions imposed in Europe. Thanks to the increasing rate of vaccinations across the
continent, I am confident that stores will begin to gradually reopen across Europe. We will experience an upswing in our store-based business when that happens.”

The retailer said that it continues to be extremely disciplined on costs in light of the difficult situation for brick-and-mortar stores.

The retailer also launched a new campaign this month that reflects the company’s shift from what it calls an external definition of beauty to a holistic understanding. Called “Let’s do beautiful,” it launched earlier this month. On May 17, the company will roll out TV ads and digital a format ads throughout the year.