Swedish furniture manufacturing group Nobia has reported a solid start to 2021 with organic growth of 3%, despite the UK lockdown.
Its sales were driven by a “strong performance” of a 20% increase in Central Europe and 9% increase in the Nordics.
Although its net sales for the first quarter decreased by 2%, impacted by negative currency effects, amounting to SEK 3,373million, operating profit improved to SEK 196million up from SEK134million last year.
President and CEO of Nobia Jon Sintorn commented: “It has been a solid start to the year, driven by strong performance in the Nordic and Central European markets.
“The lockdown in the UK, which resulted in a closed store network during the winter sales season, burdened sales and profitability in the UK region, however our performance is estimated to reflect the market development.”
Nobia reported demand for home improvements and investments in property has continuing across its markets and Sintorn stated: “Wherever we have been able to operate normally, we have capitalised on these trends, such as in large parts of the Nordics and Central Europe.
“In the Nordics, our new organisation has delivered above expectations, with Denmark and Sweden being the main contributors to both sales and profitability improvement in the quarter.”
And Nobia points to pent-up demand in Austria, although year-on-year sales were down following lockdown in the country, and a strong housing market in The Netherlands providing sales growth in Central Europe.
Despite temporary closures of its UK store network, Nobia reported it continued business using digital sales meetings carried out by store staff and through its department for remote selling.
Sintorn added: “I am very excited about how fast consumers have migrated from physical to digital design appointments, and even though they want the comfort of touch and feel at some point in the sales journey, this will create opportunities for our go-to market strategy in the future.
“I am also optimistic about our growth in the UK trade segment which continued in the quarter. We will continue to focus on our trade business through the launch of new products and increasing product availability in our trade store network. ”
Following the re-opening of “non-essential” retail in the UK on April 12, Nobia is now pushing ahead with its retail spring campaign.
It follows on from last year, wheb Nobia finished 2020 “on a strong note with a solid result”.