Macintosh Retail Group wants to bundle purchasing volumes for footwear in the Far East, with its own buying organization striking new agreements with suppliers this year, following its recently completed €158.2 million acquisition of Brantano. Together with tighter management of commercial processes and cost controls, this will help to improve operating margins for the Dutch group, which previously bought Scapino.

While it will close some other less profitable stores in the UK, Brantano will add about 10 new locations in the various countries where it operates. Scapino will add about 5 new stores in the Netherlands and 2 in Belgium. Hoogenbosch will update some 30 stores under its various banners – Dolcis, Invito, Manfield and PRO Sport - to enhance their distinctive characteristics. It will also expand in Belgium.

In 2007, Macintosh improved its operating margin (EBIT) to 7.3 percent, the highest level in its history, from 7.1 percent in 2006. The gross margin rose by 0.9 percentage points to 42.9 percent. The total net profit rose by 18.5 percent to €54.5 million, with a 12.5 percent increase to €47.5 million for continuing operations. Due in part to the disposal of its furniture retail activities at the beginning of 2007, group turnover rose by only 0.6 percent to €920.3 million, with an increase of 4.1 percent in the first half followed by a decline of 2.5 percent in the second half, because of to falling consumer confidence.

The Dutch shoe market grew by only between 0.1 percent and 1.6 percent last year according to various market research firms. The fashion division of Macintosh, which consists mainly of shoe retailing operations, raised its total turnover slightly to €339.2 million, but it was essentially flat considering the fact that Scapino had been consolidated for only 11 months in 2006. At 10.6 percent of sales, the division’s operating profit (EBIT) remained relatively high, but it was down from 10.9 percent in the previous year.

Hoogenbosch itself generated lower turnover and operating income than in the former excellent year. The number of its stores increased by 8 to 233. Scapino had higher gross margins and higher sales and operating profit. The number of its stores in the Netherlands declined from 189 to 187 in the Netherlands, and from 4 to 2 in Germany, but it rose by 4 to 31 in Belgium.

Group results didn’t yet include those of Brantano, whose turnover increased last year to €312.0 million from €295.2 million in 2006, with a sound development in the Benelux and the UK during the first three quarters and a poor fourth quarter. The company had an operating profit before amortization and depreciation (EBITDA) of €15.9 million in 2007, which compares with €19.6 million recorded in 2006 before non-recurrent items. Operating results fell to €6.1 million from €35.9 million, but were affected by a variety of extraordinary charges and gains.

At the end of 2007, Brantano had a total of 128 stores in Belgium and Luxembourg measuring 94,500 square meters. It had 147 stores in the UK with a surface of 101,100 m². Scapino’s stores measured 152,800 m² in the Netherlands, 24,300 m² in Belgium and 3,100 m² in Germany. All in the Netherlands now, Dolcis’ 98 stores measured 13,700 m², Manfield’s 65 units had 7,200 m², the 40 Invitos had 3,400 m² and 30 PRO Sport doors had 2,100 m².