Book Retailing Division
The Book Retailing Division posted net revenue of CHF 91.7 million in 2017, 3% lower than the previous year’s figure (CHF 94.8 million). Operating earnings (EBIT) amounted to CHF 1.6 million (CHF 2.0 million in 2016). This figure includes special items amounting to CHF –0.2 million net (CHF 0.5 million in 2016), which arose mainly from expenses in the context of the transformation programme.
In 2017 the Swiss book trade again suffered a decline in sales of some 3% on a comparable basis. The main reason for the persistently downward market trend continues to be customers’ high price sensitivity and the shopping tourism to neighbouring countries resulting from this. The Book Retailing Division took numerous steps to counteract this general trend in 2017 and expanded its market share slightly. On the basis of comparable selling space, net revenue was 2% lower than in the previous year. The digital and online sales business again achieved slight growth in 2017. Successful cooperative ventures in the digital business made a significant contribution to this.
In response to the persistently difficult market conditions the transformation programme launched in 2015 was also pursued resolutely in the year under review. Activities continue to centre on steps to stabilise sales and reinforce the company’s market position. This concerns both bricks-and-mortar sales and the digital and online business. High-quality customer advice combined with an expansion of the customer loyalty programme are cornerstones of the initiatives as well as the continuous review of the product range and branch formats. Orell Füssli therefore continued to adapt its bricks-and-mortar presence to market conditions in 2017, with investments focusing on the refurbishment of selling space. The branches in Visp and at Zurich’s main and Stadelhofen railway stations have been completely renovated, and the branch in Frauenfeld was also relocated. Contracts for new selling spaces enabling a significant reduction in operating costs in equally attractive locations were concluded for 2018 in the inner cities of Basle and St. Gall. The high-frequency branch at Zurich-Oerlikon railway station which was opened in November 2016 fulfilled the expectations placed in this newly developed branch format. Brand migration in the online sales business was successfully completed in the second half of 2017, thus achieving the objective of a uniform platform and repositioning under the “Orell Füssli” brand and creating an important basis for pursuing the comprehensive omni-channel strategy.
The Book Retailing Division’s pursuit of its long-term positioning as market leader on the Swiss book market will continue unabated via all sales channels alongside a flexible response to changes in consumer behaviour. The further implementation of the steps already initiated will therefore focus not only on the systematic reinforcement of the bricks-and-mortar platform, but also on the continuous expansion of a presence covering all sales channels.