Ladies and gentlemen,
after the first four months of 2020, marked by extreme pressure, uncertainties, chaos, continuous fire and peak performance due to the corona crisis, we see two things: First, we have done well.
Although sales in April fell by 25%, after four months we are still up 11% year-over-year. We have fought bravely throughout the company – but we have also invested enormously in all kinds of advertising services on all possible channels. We spent a total of over EUR 10 million more than originally planned on advertising to overcome the crisis. Our strategy: “Something has to happen now so that nothing happens” has worked – at least so far.
Crisis… And therefore short-time work? Maybe it’s just the other way round: No short-time work – therefore no crisis! At least for us it is!
There will be a dent, but not a total crash, a few scratches and marks in the earnings. So what? I also think it’s silly to stop investments – you only damage your future. And if that’ s what every company does, it’s only logical that the whole economy goes down the drain.
WE continue to move at high speed and in the right direction… We had planned a lot and now more is going in the different direction. Like so often in life, man thinks and God guides. But we are flexible, adaptable and steering day & night driving and rowing – with trust in God & self-confidence.
We also had some exceptional influences, which have both positive and negative effects on our earnings: All our partner suppliers have done great, not a single supply chain is broken. Thanks for that! I waived my whole salary and on the other hand we paid out 1.5 million euros in hardship allowances to the team and donated products worth 3 million euros to rescue services, fire brigades and similar organizations. To cut a long story short: our earnings have collapsed – no wonder – but to a manageable extent and for us to cope with. It could have been worse, we are not making losses and are still in the black, and so you could also ask whether the glass is half full or half empty. 50% less profit than last year in the 1st quarter… This can be easily made up for – in the next two quarters. So I personally dare to say that we can do that as well… If anyone can do this, it’s US. Although it is only half of last year’s earnings, we can be proud of it. Everything is self generated – no subsidies, no state aid, no short-time work, no saving until there is no blood… I say it with the Greek philosopher Hesiod: “Even worse than losses are disgraceful profits”… Our profit is an honorable profit!
In this spirit, as always, I greet you warmly, gratefully and humbly.
Ernst Prost Managing Director