As anticipated, the Lafuma Group ended its financial year on Sept. 30 with a major sales decline, although the 15.9 percent drop reported for the first six months of the year was followed by a slightly smaller drop of 11.1 percent in the second half. For the full year, the company's continuing operations generated a turnover of €193.6 million, down by 12.3 percent on a constant-currency basis from the previous year.

Even its Mountaineering segment, whose sales had risen by 11.5 percent in the previous financial year, suffered a 2.4 percent decline in sales on a constant-currency basis with a total turnover of €82.3 million with its Millet, Eider and Killy brands. With a drop of only 1.0 percent, Millet performed best, according to the company, thanks to a “consistent product and sales strategy.”

The Grand Outdoor segment, which consists mainly of the Lafuma brand, recorded a sales decline of 11.5 percent on a comparable basis, down to €73.5 million, with drops of 9.1 percent in camping furniture and 11.1 percent in apparel and equipment. The company noted that its sales had stabilized in the previous financial year.

Like before, the biggest downturn occurred in the group's Surf segment, which is represented by the Oxbow brand. At €37.8 million, its sales were down by 29.3 percent for the year on a comparable basis, after a less pronounced decline of 16.4 percent in the previous financial year. In a particularly difficult period for all the surf and surf-inspired brands, which we are following through Sporting Goods Intelligence, the rate of decline was stronger at wholesale than at retail for this segment of Lafuma's activities.

Geographically, the group's turnover fell by 11.9 percent in France and by 13.9 percent in other parts of Europe for all its brands combined. They fell by 27 percent in dollars in the U.S., mainly due to a strong drop in apparel and equipment. They were largely stable in Asia on a comparable basis, excluding the effect of an interruption of some of Lafuma's direct activities in Japan following a previously announced licensing and distribution agreement with World Co. for that market. The deal involves the development of dedicated collections and the opening of Lafuma stores in the country.

The order backlog for the autumn/winter 2013/14 collections indicates that the group's sales will continue to decline in the current quarter.

The financial results for the past financial year are due to come out on Nov. 21, and the management has already warned that they will show a big loss. As previously reported, the company's shareholders have been asked to vote on refinancing package before the end of December that would involve an increase in the stake held in the Lafuma group by the Swiss Calida group.