Lower demand for personal hygiene products has impacted revenue at Ontex in the third quarter, as like-for-like sales fell 4.6% at the group.
Reported revenue stood at €508 million in the period to 30 September, a 12% decline, which included a €43 million negative currency impact.
Following recent leadership changes, including the appointment of former Henkel boss Hans van Bylen as chairman, and Thierry Navarre as interim chief executive, Ontex has announced the creation of a strategy committee, 'tasked with re-shaping the company’s strategic priorities and expediting decision-making and execution', it said.
The committee will build on the work already undertaken by the group's Transform 2 Grow (T2G) initiative, which generated €57 million of gross EBITDA gains in the first nine months of the year.
“Ontex posted a sequential improvement in sales in Q3 in the face of the unprecedented market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and profitability benefited from ongoing T2G-driven gains," Navarre commented. "However, even allowing for these market conditions, we are not satisfied with the current level of performance and recognise that it must be stepped up.
"Therefore, Ontex’s Board of Directors and Management are mobilising all Ontex resources to take further decisive actions. This encompasses a wide range of initiatives, including a full strategic review with no taboos, as well as first decisions to reduce overhead costs across the Group and a cut in management’s short-term variable compensation pool for this year."
Looking ahead, the business said that it 'continues to operate in an highly uncertain environment' amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and expects full-year like-for-like revenue variation to be broadly similar to the first nine months of its financial year.
It added that the imposition of new lockdown measures in many parts of Europe on its sales 'is difficult to predict'.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.