Presenting its final figures for 2008, Garant Schuh + Mode reported that its centralized fulfillment and invoicing grew by 1.6 percent to €766.3 million. A total of 242 retailers joined the group in the course of last year, but others left. At the end of the year they were 3,406, operating about 5,100 doors across Europe, compared with 3,380 members at the end of 2007. Garant’s strongest markets in terms of members are Germany, France and the Netherlands followed by Belgium, Austria and Switzerland – in the trade of shoes, leathergoods and sporting goods.

The group achieved a gross margin of 5.6 percent on revenues that reached €91.8 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) were €4.6 million, while Ebit stood at €1.8 million. The net result was negative at €4.1 million, partially due to extra costs which came from the insolvency procedures which ended in late 2007. The company, therefore, decided to grant no dividends to its shareholders. Without the extraordinary effects of the insolvency, the company would have had a positive net result at €700,000.

These results are not comparable with those of Garant’s 2007 rump fiscal year, which consisted of the month of December alone. They are not as good as the management had forecast one year ago, when it was projecting Ebit of €5.4 million and growth of 4.7 percent to €789 million in centralized settlements for the 2008 financial year.

Garant’s outlook for 2009 looks positive, however. In the first quarter of 2009, the number of affiliated retailers increased by additional 62. The volume of centralized invoicing and fulfillment decreased slightly by 2.8 percent – mainly due to a significant decrease in Germany of 8.6 percent, which reflects the difficult environment in the country’s shoe business. This decline was partially offset by positive developments in France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Garant’s head office expects to reach a higher centralized turnover of €800 million for 2009. Net revenues should grow moderately and operating profit should increase strongly.