Focusing on the Gerber brand, sales of outdoor products declined by 8 percent to €114.2 million at Fiskars last year, despite a rise of 3 percent in the last quarter. Sales in constant currencies were down by 2 percent in the quarter and by 7 percent in constant currencies. The same applies for the turnover of the Gerber brand for the year, which reached about 11 percent of the entire Finnish group's sales.
The outdoor category at Fiskars covers sales of boats as well as outdoor equipment. Both of these activities lost some ground last year in the Europe and Asia-Pacific entity, which was set up at the start of 2014. Then again, the comparison was distorted by strong business-to-business initiatives in 2013.
The Fiskars group's turnover in the outdoor category also declined in the Americas for the year. The commercial segment was under pressure, with decreased promotional activities, while sales in industrial and institutional channels were on the rise.
The entire group's net sales were down by 4 percent to €767.5 million for the year, which was attributed chiefly to currency exchange rate changes and divestments of a pottery business in the U.K. at the end of 2013. Excluding both of these factors, sales declined by 1 percent.
Sales in Europe and Asia-Pacific dropped by 5 percent to 533.6 million, which was still a drop of 4 percent in constant currencies and 2 in comparable terms due to lower garden and outdoor sales. Comparable sales were down by 1 percent in the Americas.
The entire group's operating profit excluding non-recurring items decreased by 19 percent to €59.6 million, due to the lower sales as well as an increase in amortization relating to a five-year investment program in Europe, started in 2010. The group incurred restructuring costs of €10.6 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, €7.7 million in write-downs and impairment charges in Europe & Asia-Pacific, and €1.7 million of badwill in the Americas during the year. Including these non-recurring items, operating profit decreased by 30 percent to €42.7 million.
The company predicts that its sales will increase this year, mostly due to the acquisition of a watering business last year. The year should be marked by continued retail expansion in Asia as well as increased investments in brands in Europe. Adding further amortization relating to the five-year investment program, these investments should lead to a decline in operating profit before one-off items this year. The group ended the year with profit of €773.3 million, compared with €94.0 million, due to a gain of €676.0 million on the sale and revaluation of shares in Wärtsilä, a Finnish company specializing in marine and energy markets.
The end of the year saw the start of a new organization at Fiskars, with the two regional entities described above. Activities were restructured as part of the ongoing EMEA 2015 program, which saw the consolidation of north and central sales regions into one European sales organization.
Separately, Fiskars announced earlier this month that it has appointed Topi Sarpakunnas as senior vice president in charge of business development. He joined at the start of the month from NAG, a leading Finnish management consulting firm where he was a partner.