Hugo Boss has had a solid start to the year, despite facing a decline in sales during the first quarter of 2021. The fashion brand reported an 8% drop in sales, amounting to €497 million, which is a significant improvement compared to the challenges faced throughout the previous year. Despite the decline, the company generated a positive EBIT of €1 million in Q1.

One of the main contributors to this positive performance was the strong growth in mainland China, where sales nearly doubled during the quarter. This can be attributed to the brand’s expanding online presence and successful partnerships with other retailers. The online business also experienced momentum, with online sales increasing by 72%.

However, there were areas of weakness, particularly in retail sales due to store closures during lockdowns. Retail sales declined by 14% in the first quarter, while wholesale sales saw a modest 1% increase. The wholesale channel benefited from a strong order intake for the Spring/Summer 2021 collections, thanks to strategic shifts in delivery. These collections were brought forward to the first quarter to ensure product availability after lockdowns were lifted.

Despite the overall decline in sales, casualwear offerings from Boss and Hugo performed well. Casualwear sales, which accounted for approximately 50% of total sales in Q1, returned to mid-single-digit growth. This growth was driven by healthy demand across all product categories and strong sell-through of collaborations such as Boss x Russell Athletic and Boss x NBA.

Yves Müller, the spokesperson for the managing board, expressed satisfaction with the company’s performance despite ongoing challenges in Europe due to the pandemic. He highlighted the strong progress in online sales, mainland China, and casualwear, all of which are gaining momentum. Müller is confident that sales and EBIT will recover noticeably as the year progresses.

In terms of regional performance, Europe saw a significant decline in sales with a currency-adjusted decrease of 17% to €299 million. The closure of stores during the first quarter heavily impacted sales in this market, particularly in key markets like the UK, France, and Germany. However, the US market showed sequential improvements and wholesale sales performed well, which helped boost overall sales. American currency-adjusted sales only saw an 11% decrease to €80 million, reflecting improved consumer sentiment. The success in China also played a significant role in driving sales in the Asia-Pacific region, which saw a currency-adjusted increase of 39% to €101 million, fueled by strong local demand and a successful Chinese New Year period.

Useful links:
1. Hugo Boss Official Website
2. Hugo Boss Sales Statistics