Excerpt of press release (full release in attached PDF):
Strong financial results
Sales growth was strong across all countries in 2017. Consolidated sales totalled €3,418 million, up 28% compared to last year. Healthy like-for-like growth in all our markets resulted in an overall like-for-like increase of 5.3%. Action saw growth in all but two product categories. We saw soft performance in the Decoration category, particularly in the last quarter of 2017, and we embarked on a programme to deliberately manage down sales in our fashion category in order to change it into a ‘Basics’ and ‘Sports’ category in early 2018.
Operating EBITDA increased by 25% to €387 million in 2017 from €310 million in 2016. The Operating EBITDA margin slightly decreased to 11.3% in 2017 from 11.6% in 2016.
In 2017 Action commenced a significant investment programme across stores, supply chain, distribution, IT and human resources in order to meet its medium-term ambition of becoming a €10 billion business. As part of this programme Action opened two new distribution centres in France and Germany. In the second half we also instigated further investment and a change in logistics service provider at our Moissy distribution centre near Paris in order to improve store delivery performance in France. The French store network has grown rapidly and is now generating more sales per week than our original network in The Netherlands.
Action de-geared to 3.5x EBITDA from 4.7x EBITDA over the course of 2017 as a result of strong cash generation and continued profit growth.
Action opened 244 new stores and closed one older store at the end of its lease. This was a significant increase in store openings over 2016 with a predominance of store openings in the last quarter of 2017. The majority of the stores were opened in France and Germany. To support this store growth, we established our fourth distribution center in Biblis (near Mannheim) and our fifth in Labastide (near Toulouse). In October, we celebrated the milestone of the 1,000th Action store.
Action press department:
T: +31 (0)228 311 764