The fashion segment of the Dutch Macintosh Retail Group, which includes the Dolcis, Manfield and Invito shoe retail chains, reported an improvement in its operating margin (EBIT to 10.9 percent for 2006 from 8.9 percent in the previous year. The segment’s turnover more than doubled to €327.4 million thanks to the addition of Scapino, a discount-oriented shoe retailer acquired on Feb. 1, 2006 that has a 6 percent share of the Dutch footwear market in value and a 12 percent share in volume.

Scapino generated €177 million in revenues during the 11 months of the year that it belonged to Macintosh. This was above what the chain reported in the same period of 2005, thanks to both organic growth and the addition of 6 stores. At the end of 2006, there were 189 Scapino stores operating in the Netherlands, as well as 27 in Belgium and 6 in Germany. Five more stores were added to the Netherlands, 2 were opened Belgium and a German door was closed.

Investments made by Scapino into a new store format are seen as successful, so the retailer will be converting another 12 units to the new layout in 2007. Over the next 3 years Scapino plans to open 10 stores in the Netherlands and another 15 in Belgium. Three locations will be closed in Germany this year.

The group’s Hoogenbosch retail subsidiary, which trades in the medium and upper tiers, had a market share in the Netherlands of 7.5 percent in value and 5.5 percent in volume last year. At the end of last year there were 96 Dolcis stores, 63 Manfield doors, 39 Invito outlets and 27 Pro Sport stores operating in the Netherlands. Two Dolcis shops were added, one Manfield location was opened and an Invito store was added.

Hoogenbosch expects women’s boots to become less fashionable in the near future, but is reassured that this will be offset by the sale of higher quantities of footwear in general. The retail group plans to add 15-20 stores, with 10 opening in 2007 and the others coming on stream at a later date. Like Scapino, Hoogenbosch will be purchasing more shoes from the Far East.

As a whole Macintosh Retail Group had a record net profit of €46.0 million in 2006, up by 40.0 percent. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) climbed by 65.4 percent to €64.7 million, thanks to the acquisition of Scapino and to strong increases for the Kwantum, Hoogenbosch and Halfords subsidiaries. The EBIT margin expanded to 7.1 percent from 5.5 percent in 2005. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to €85.2 million, as compared to €55.1 million in the previous year. Turnover from continuing operations grew by 28.3 percent to €914.5 million, with 24.8 percent of the growth coming from Scapino and 3.5 percent from existing operations.

There was a rise in consumer confidence in the Netherlands during 2006, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and provided by Macintosh in its annual financial report. The non-food retail market in the country grew by 6.3 percent, thanks almost entirely to 5.8 percent in the quantity of products sold. Conflicting estimates have been given for the evolution of the footwear market.