Danish footwear brand Ecco said it has remained financially strong despite the challenges of the year 2020. The company reported sales of €1.09 billion in 2020, down 19.7 percent from €1.36 billion a year ago. Profit before taxes reached €44.7 million, down from €195.8 million in 2019.

The top priority was to ensure the safety of the brand’s more than 21,000 employees worldwide, as well as consumers, Ecco said in a press release. The Covid-19 outbreak prompted the company to take early action to restrict travel, office and factory visits and close stores.

Despite the exceptional circumstances in 2020, Ecco continued to invest heavily in its distribution, acquiring, for example, the business in Russia and a large number of Ecco brand stores in the Middle East and the Netherlands. Large investments were made in digital platforms, advanced marketing capabilities and infrastructure that enables product innovation. Investments in 2020 reached a record high of €195 million.

Direct-to-consumer development continued, with net sales from retail and e-commerce combined growing 2 percent, supported by strong online sales growth of 34 percent and store acquisitions.

Eliminating the effects of acquisitions, earnings were halved, as reflected in EBITDA, which declined 54 percent from 2019 to €119 million.

Continuing Ecco’s longstanding efforts to create an increasingly sustainable footprint, efforts were taken a step further with a set of ambitious environmental targets. By 2030, the company plans to be operating with renewable energy and using only bio-based chemicals and closed water loops in its tanneries.