Utenos Trikotažas Group: E-commerce spurted during the pandemic. Sales fell less than expected
During the pandemic year of 2020, the Utenos Trikotažas Group owned by SBA earned EUR 28,1 million of unaudited sales or 8,8% less than in 2019. The sales of Utenos Trikotažas company alone shrank by 7,6% to EUR 24.9 million.
“Last year was extremely difficult for the whole textile market globally. The pandemic caused declining sales for Utenos Trikotažas clients, therefore we had to review, postpone or cancel many orders. The situation in both Lithuania and export markets was unpredictable throughout the year. Given the circumstances, we have coped with this pandemic period very well and continue our operations having more experience and positive signs of recovery”Petras Jašinskas, CEO at Utenos Trikotažas
Šatrija, producer of functional-technical clothing, sold products worth EUR 3 million last year, i.e., 17,4% less than in 2019. Over this difficult year, the Utenos Trikotažas Group incurred losses of EUR 370 thousand before tax, while the net profit of the Group last year was EUR 763 thousand. The Group’s EBITDA in 2020 amounted to EUR 1.2 million and was 30% less than in 2019.
As the business environment changed, the quality of working capital of Utenos Trikotažas was reviewed and provisions were formed accordingly. The financial results were affected by the recorded impairment loss on reserves and receivables worth EUR 0.6 million.
More than 50% of the company’s customers suffered losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, in particular those who operate in a physical retail environment. In 2020 sales of on-demand production shrunk by 14.4% to EUR 19.8 million.
Despite the difficult operating circumstances, targeted efforts and refocused manufacturing priorities led Utenos Trikotažas to attracting new, strong clients. At the end of 2020, new clients accounted for over 25% of the client portfolio. According to P. Jašinskas, the growth of new customers is determined by two main reasons: manufacturing flexibility adjusting to smaller and faster batches as well as the growing demand for European origin production.
The company is focusing on strong global brands, successfully developing effective e-commerce channels. Global trends of e-commerce growth have contributed to the record-breaking increase in sales of Utenos Trikotažas owned brands – UTENOS and ABOUT. In total, these brands sold products worth EUR 5.2 million last year which is 31,6% more than in 2019. This sharp leap in sales was partly caused by the sales of face masks which were in particular demand during the second quarter of the year, however, changing customer behaviors, timely focus on e-commerce platform and targeted marketing measures were no less important.
Last year, Utenos Trikotažas made a historical achievement in responsible manufacturing – it became the first company in the world to meet the textile manufacturing standard set by the environmental organization Greenpeace. The influential organization continues the production of its textile collections at Utenos Trikotažas.
In addition to ordinary operations, the year 2020 was the year of community initiatives and good deeds. When the country faced critical shortages of protection equipment, Utenos Trikotažas was among the first to produce protective face masks. Over 10,000 of face masks were donated to medical workers and staff in social institutions. In cooperation with other SBA companies, Utenos Trikotažas bought and distributed food packages for people most in need in rural areas and supported hospitals with medical equipment.