Fiskars is a one of a kind company. Almost 365 years ago, a Dutch merchant founded an ironworks in a small Finnish village. Today, Finland’s oldest company is proud to celebrate its 365th anniversary stronger than ever before. Our success reflects the strength and innovation of our brands and the commitment and drive of our employees across the world.
In 2013, Fiskars once again delivered a strong financial performance – for the fourth year in a row we recorded the company’s best operating profit to date. Contributing factors were focused management of both offering and costs.
From a sales perspective, I look back on 2013 with mixed feelings. Our net sales grew by 7%, but the growth can be mostly attributed to the successful addition of Royal Copenhagen. Comparable sales were disappointingly flat, as market sentiment remained volatile and the Home business went through a streamlining of the offering and a major system change. In one of our biggest markets, Finland, the retail environment was worryingly weak.
Fiskars has a clear ambition to grow, both into new markets and into new categories. We have clear evidence that our integrated company strategy is working and we remain convinced that premium brands that inspire people and make their everyday life easier will prosper over the long term.
Fiskars transformation is on track. Our five year business platform program in Europe is now halfway, and we are starting to reap the benefits. In 2013 we established a centralized distribution center for Central Europe, which Gerber’s European distribution could then be plugged into. To round off our operating model, we launched a restructuring program to optimize our supply chain and align our European sales units with our business model.
I am proud of the progress we have made, but there is still much that we need to do to achieve our growth ambition. We are strong in the Nordic countries and North America, where market growth is slow and we have high market shares in our core categories. We believe that we have the potential for significant market share gain in Central Europe for our key brands and we aim to build a second growth engine in the fast-growing markets in Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific.
To accelerate growth in these increasingly important markets, we plan to increase spending in the coming years in building brand awareness across regions and in sales talent for the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, we plan to invest in expanding into new categories. These initiatives will negatively affect our operating profit in the short term, but they will be the key to unleashing the growth potential of our unique brand portfolio. Our growth strategy includes carefully selected acquisitions that are of a strategic fit and contribute to our longterm profitability.
Fiskars makes lasting products that enrich consumers’ everyday lives. We can be proud of the fact that our products are relied upon from one generation to the next. Our unique heritage and long-term perspective sets us apart from other companies. We welcome all our shareholders, customers and employees to join us in our 365 jubilee and we promise that we will be there for you just that little bit better and smarter. Every day.
President and CEO