The troubled electronics chain Ceconomy has stopped the downward trend in sales in the important Christmas business. Unlike the previous year, the holding company, with its subsidiaries Media Markt and Saturn, did not lose any of its rebate fights for Black Friday. In addition, they helped in the online business to increase sales by 1.7 percent to 6.879 billion euros, as Ceconomy announced on Friday.
Meanwhile, Ceconomy had to deal with a new decline in earnings, but this was mainly due to high severance payments for the exchange of large parts of senior management last year. Approximately 34 million euros went to 16 managers. "We had a solid first quarter," said interim CFO Bernhard Düttmann. The numbers turned out to be better than feared, Baader analysts said. Investors took the baton: Ceconomy shares sometimes increased by more than 20 percent and were by far the biggest winner in the small index SDax.
The Christmas business could now give the new management to Ceconomy in the back. Jörn Werner, who used to run an electronics trade and a workshop chain, has to put the holding company back on track in March as the new CEO. Karin Sonnenmoser, formerly employed by the Austrian lighting manufacturer Zumtobel, then becomes the new Chief Financial Officer. The old leadership around CEO Pieter Haas had thrown the towel last year after several profit warnings. Settlements for former board members are the largest item in the 34-million-euro package, Düttmann said.
The new boss now has a lot of work to do. The holding company was too complex, analysts had complained repeatedly. New management should change this by centralizing Media Markt and Saturn and saving costs. Düttmann has already announced a new conversion program, until 21 May at the latest. Ceconomy then presents figures for the second quarter. Logistics should be more centralized, among other things, Düttmann announced. This should reduce costs.
Source: Media Markt E-Business GmbH