Chapters
Annual Report 2020

4.4 Segment performance

G4

The G4 segment includes our four largest business units: (i) The Netherlands and Belgium; (ii) France, Luxembourg and Monaco; (iii) Germany and Austria; and (iv) the U.K. and Ireland, including franchises in several Middle Eastern countries.

The G4 business units manage retail brands with owned and franchise stores across these countries. Within the segment, we have market leading positions in Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands, and number two or three positions in France, Germany and the U.K.

At the end of 2020, the G4 segment operated a network of 3,433 stores, an increase from 3,428 stores in 2019. Key brands in the G4 segment include Apollo Optik in Germany with 880 stores, Pearle in Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands with 706 stores, Générale d'Optique in France with 642 stores and Vision Express in the U.K., Ireland and Middle East with 594 stores.

Revenue

In the G4 segment, revenue decreased by 10.3% at constant exchange rates to EUR 2,028 million in FY20 (FY19: EUR 2,266 million) and organic sales 11.1%. Acquisitions, which positively contributed 0.8% to revenue, mainly related to the acquisition of franchise stores across the Netherlands, Germany and France in 2020.

The total number of stores in the G4 segment increased by five locations to 3,433 at the end of 2020 (FY19: 3,428), mainly driven by store openings and few acquisitions across the region.

Comparable revenue for the segment decelerated and was -11.6% in 2020, versus 3.7% in 2019. France and the U.K. were the most affected countries in the segment. However, a substantial increase in total digital influenced store sales, which significantly improved the conversion ratio, partially mitigated the negative impact of reduced footfall. Furthermore, the favorable category mix with an increase in the multifocal category share, mainly in France, also contributed to the segment’s underlying good performance.

Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria were the most resilient markets in the segment with high single-digit comparable revenue decline, reflecting a solid recovery and commercial execution. Overall, stores in this region were less impacted by traffic reductions we saw in other markets due to the focus on proximity stores in these countries rather than high street locations.

Adjusted EBITA

Adjusted EBITA in the G4 segment was EUR 222 million in 2020, compared to EUR 347 million in 2019. The adjusted EBITA in the G4 segment decreased by 36.0% at constant exchange rates. The performance varied significantly in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March, with a strong recovery in the third quarter following the lifting of restrictions and continued momentum in the fourth quarter.

The G4 markets such as Germany and The Netherlands also benefited from improvements in commercial execution, such as 24-hour contact lenses delivery, online optical offering and increased online appointment bookings driving efficiencies and helping to improve profitability. The U.K. also had a strong underlying performance resulting from the country’s turnaround strategy, delivering efficiency gains and improved profitability.

The adjusted EBITA margin decreased by 436bps to 10.9% in 2020 (FY19: 15.3%), mainly driven by the loss in the second quarter related to COVID-19 pandemic-related temporary store closures.

Other Europe

The Other Europe segment includes our business units that operate in Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe.

These business units manage single or multiple optical retail brands in one or several countries. The brands are mostly comprised of owned stores and, to a lesser extent, franchise stores.

In many markets, GrandVision brands have market leading positions such as in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Portugal. Key retail brands include GrandVision, Corner Optique and Solaris with 408 stores across Italy; MultiOpticas, GrandOptical and Solaris in Portugal with 220 stores, Vision Express in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria with 292 stores, as well as Synoptik in Sweden and Denmark with 249 stores.

At the end of 2020, there were 2,114 stores in the Other Europe segment, a decrease from 2,134 stores in 2019, due to planned closures mainly in Italy and Portugal and slightly fewer openings across the region versus the prior year.

The optical retail markets in the Other Europe segment are characterized by higher maturity profiles in Northern Europe and parts of Southern Europe, and a lower level of maturity with faster annual growth rates across in Eastern Europe.

Revenue

In the Other Europe segment, revenue decreased by 12.4% at constant exchange rates to EUR 1,103 million in FY20 (FY19: EUR 1,269 million) with organic and comparable decline of 15.6% and 15.9%, respectively. Acquisitions, primarily McOptic in Switzerland and a couple of months from Óptica2000 in Spain, contributed 3.1% to the revenue growth.

The total number of stores in the Other Europe segment decreased by 20 to 2,114 at the end of 2020 (FY19: 2,134), which reflected the store network rationalization due to the anticipated turnaround plans.

Italy was one of the hardest-hit markets in the full year and 4Q with weaker sunglass sales, which also affected other countries in Southern Europe. Performance in Northern Europe benefited from the successful implementation of subscription models in both the optical and contact lens categories, while online sales grew strongly across the segment.

Denmark delivered relative strong comparable revenues compared to the rest of the countries in the segment with an impressive turnaround in the market. Switzerland also saw a robust revenue performance with high single-digit growth at constant exchange rates.

Adjusted EBITA

Reported adjusted EBITA in Other Europe decreased from EUR 152 million in 2019 to EUR 89 million in 2020, with an organic decline of 42.0% and a positive contribution from acquisitions of 1.3%. The adjusted EBITA margin decreased by 393 bps to 8.0%, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic predominately in Italy.

Switzerland and the Nordics, particularly Denmark, delivered a strong performance throughout the year. In many markets, we benefited from an improvement in sales mix due to the strong category growth of multifocal glasses and the continued rollout of optical subscription programs. The excellent integration of McOptic in Switzerland exceeded expectations, positively contributing to the segment's profit.

In 2020, Eastern Europe was one of the most affected regions in terms of traffic as most of the stores in malls were temporarily closed, shifting the traffic to high streets and proximity stores. The sub-segment also showed an increase in multifocal products resulting in improved optical ASP, partially offsetting the footfall reduction.

Americas & Asia

The Americas & Asia segment includes businesses in Latin America, Russia, Turkey and the U.S.

In Latin America we operate leading optical retail brands in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Most regions in the Americas & Asia segment have the lowest levels of maturity in the GrandVision group.

Historically, these optical retail markets have been growing faster on average than more developed markets in the G4 and Other Europe segments. GrandVision has a strong market presence in Latin America.

During 2020, we decreased our store network by 131 stores to 1,713 as openings across the region were offset by closures of structurally underperforming stores particularly in China, India, the U.S. and Mexico. In Turkey, we opened 31 new stores in 2020.

Revenue

The Americas & Asia segment reported a revenue decline of 20.4% at constant exchange rates to EUR 349 million in FY20 (FY19: EUR 505 million). Comparable revenues decreased by 20.7%.

The total number of stores in the Americas & Asia segment decreased to 1,713 at the end of 2020 (FY19: 1,844). The decrease includes the planned store closures from the divested Chinese operations and store network rationalization linked to turnarounds in the region.

Latin America and the U.S. markets were among the most impacted globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Turkey continued to show good results, partly supported by a doubling of e-commerce sales compared to 2019. Latin America also significantly grew its online business, improving the category mix and contributing to around 20% of total online sales in the optical category.

Adjusted EBITA

Reported adjusted EBITA in the Americas & Asia segment decreased from EUR 22 million in 2019, to EUR -2 million in 2020, or 95.0% at constant exchange rates. Despite temporary store network closures and COVID-19 pandemic-related sales restrictions mainly in Latin America, we continued to achieve underlying operational improvements in the U.S., resulting from the business turnaround plans and closures of structurally underperforming stores. Overall, our businesses in Turkey showed the greatest degree of resilience.

In FY20, the adjusted EBITA margin decreased to -0.4%, compared to 4.3% in FY19.