Vendex KBB reports higher sales in fourth quarter

Royal Vendex KBB N.V. recorded generally higher store sales in the fourth, also the most important quarter of the fiscal year 2001/02 (November, December, January). In this period, which included one week more than the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year, net sales of the continuing retail activities rose to 1,367 million euro (+10.4%). This brought the sales figure for the whole year to a total of over 4.7 billion euro (+8.6%). Adjusted for the extra week of sales in the fourth quarter, sales in that period were up 4.4%. Over the whole year the sales increase on a comparative basis came out at 6.9%.

Seen against the background of the marked slowdown of economic growth in the second half of the year, this is a satisfactory sales increase. The transition to the euro in January had no noticeable effect either. More in particular, store sales of most of the retail formats in the important end-of-year period were good.

Department stores
The Department Stores group recorded on a comparative basis a sales rise of 2.1% in the fourth quarter and of 1.7% over the whole fiscal year.

HEMA closed the fiscal year with an excellent fourth quarter. The actions connected with the introduction of the euro and the 75th jubilee made contributions to this. BijenkorfÂ's sales rose amongst others as a result of the opening at the beginning of September of three Bijenkorf fashion stores (Breda, Den Bosch, Groningen). The sales of Christmas packages (Bijenkorf Business Class) however went badly. V&DÂ's sales on a comparative basis were down especially in January. As in the third quarter however, higher margins were realized.

Specialty Stores
The sales of the Specialty Stores group showed an increase on a comparative basis of 6.7% in the fourth quarter and of nearly 12% over the whole fiscal year.

(source: Koninklijke Vendex KBB N.V.)
Net sales of Hard Goods rose significantly. Sharp growth percentages were recorded in the most important sectors: consumer electronics, opticians and jewelry. The Fashion business also developed satisfactorily in the fourth quarter. Almost all formats in this business unit contributed to the sales increase. The growth in the DIY sector (Praxis, Formido) was speeded up, largely thanks to the prosperous development of the Praxis Megastores.

Group sales
Total net Group sales (including the discontinued activities) showed a slight increase on a comparative basis, rising to 1,469 million euro in the fourth quarter and to nearly five billion euro over the fiscal year as a whole. The difference in growth percentage with the continued activities is partly due to the sharply lower sales contribution from the American toy chain FAO Schwarz which ? as earlier reported ? was sold at the beginning of January to the American company The Right Start. Another cause is the elimination of the sales of the former Group companies Kreymborg, Amici and Kien, which have been excluded from the figures since February 1, 2001. Included under discontinued activities are the sales figures of Kijkshop Belgium in connection with the phased termination of these activities in the first quarter of 2002.

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