Zalando posted a decline in sales for the first time since the German online fashion retailer was founded, leading it to dim its outlook for 2022 on Thursday.
First-quarter sales fell by 1.5 percent, to €2.2 billion ($2.33 billion), after posting a 46.8 percent increase in the same quarter last year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The main issue is that people just aren’t into buying fashion,” said co-chief executive officer Robert Gentz with a view to high inflation and the war in Ukraine.
For the three months from January to March, the company reported an adjusted operating loss of almost €52 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of €93 million.
Zalando now sees 2022 sales growth coming in at the lower end of the forecast range of 12 percent to 19 percent, and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes would at the lower end of the expected range of €430 million to €510 million.
“We believe in the strength of our business model and are taking further actions to improve our results,” said Gentz, who added that he expects significant acceleration of business in the second half of the year.
Zalando, along with Asos and Boohoo, was one of the winners of the coronavirus crisis as people had to go online to purchase clothes and cosmetics due to shop closures.
As pandemic restrictions have eased, people are returning to in-store shopping, which is why Zalando was only able to increase its number of customers slightly compared to the previous quarter, to 48.8 million.
By Nadine Schimroszik and Miranda Murray; Editors: Kirsti Knolle and Maria Sheahan
Zalando SE forecast sales growth to decelerate this year as the boom in e-commerce slows down.