Gabor Shoes has reported a 4.9 percent decrease in its sales to €393 million for 2015, including the wholesale-equivalent sales of its licensees. In terms of volume, the company delivered a total of 9.5 million pairs of shoes in 2015, down by 2.1 percent as compared to the previous year. For the Gabor brand alone, the volume fell by 2.2 percent to 8.3 million pairs.
The decline is mostly attributed by the company to a difficult retail market in Germany and in other European markets, as well as a weaker business in Russia and the Ukraine. Several multi-store shoe retailers in Germany, like Schlathold, Raab and Mengin, filed for insolvency in the past couple of months. In China, where sales were stable, Gabor is facing problems due to grey imports.
The Gabor brand recorded a sales drop of 4.1 percent to €339 million last year, while the turnover generated by its licensed Camel Active line of shoes was off to €41 million from €47 million in 2014. Across the group sales outside Germany accounted for 50.4 percent of total sales in 2015, up from 49.7 percent in 2014.
At the end of 2015, Gabor's managed retail space comprised a total of 651 Gabor stores, corners and other types of sales points, mostly franchised, representing an increase of 25 stores as compared to the previous year.
The number of the group's employees dropped from 3,386 in 2014 to 3,215 in 2015, 430 of whom were working in Germany and about 2,800 in Gabor's factories in Portugal and Slovakia.
Gabor is nonetheless optimistic for the current business year, as orders for spring/summer 2016 were very positive.
Gabor and Camel Active have introduced special training workshops for brick-and-mortar retailers in order to support them in the process of digitalization. About 20 percent of Gabor's total sales are currently generated online.
Camel Active is launching a special point of sale support program, designed by its merchandise team, for selected retailers at the end of February. It includes a campaign for “100 shop windows in 100 cities.” Camel Active will also support multi-channel retailers with advertising on their websites as well as 360° photography of its shoe collections and product descriptions.
Camel Active's workshop concept for retailers was expanded in the last 3-6 months, focusing on EDI process optimization. Data exchange agreements have been already signed with 150 retailers, or 10 percent of all clients.
In the first half of 2016, Camel Active is testing an “extended range” project developed in cooperation with Dierks Fashion Group, the logistics partner of the brand, with three participating retailers. An online program installed in their stores enables the retailers to check whether a certain shoe model is also available in other colors. The consumer can decide whether the product will be sent to his or her home or whether it will be picked up later in the store. After the test phase, the program will be offered to more retailers in the second half of 2016.