Künzelsau, Germany-based Würth Group, considered to be the world's largest industrial distributor, shared its 2020 first-half sales results last week. The figures showed a modest year-over-year drop in sales, though the company said was "more than satisfied" with the results.
Würth shared that first-half sales of $8 billion (EUR 6.9 billion) were down 3.1 percent year-over-year and down 2.9 percent adjusted for currency. Sales fell both in Germany (-0.5 percent) and to a much greater extend abroad (-4.9 percent).
"Considering the current backdrop of a global pandemic, were are more than satisfied with this relatively stable development,” said Robert Friedmann, chairman of the Würth's central managing board. “Due to the skilled trades being regarded as essential businesses and our successful establishment of a digital infrastructure in ordering and supply processes in previous years, we were always able to deliver and did not suffer any supply bottlenecks."
“We profited from the fact that the construction industry still posted growing sales in the first months of 2020,” Friedmann further explained. “As an automotive supplier, on the other hand, we do feel the effects from the still suffering automotive industry.”
Würth said that its companies in countries heavily impacted by COVID-19, such as Italy, France and Spain, felt the effects of the pandemic and those country's economic standstill, but its companies there were able to find success through their e-commerce channels. Würth France posted e-commerce growth of 27.8 percent during the first half of 2020.
Other facts and figures Würth shared in its first-half results press release:
- The company's first-half Construction Division sales grew by 9.2 percent year-over-year, notably driven by the division's Construction Site Project Management.
- Würth's electrical wholesale companies posted first-half growth of 13.7 percent, partly driven by stable supply capacities and an acquisition in Spain that was completed in 2019.
- The company posted a first-half operating profit of $241.2 million, compared to $392.2 million a year earlier. "This is a setback we have to deal with," Freidman said. "Still, considering the circumstances, we are quite satisfied with these results. Now, we are pursuing all our options in terms of sales activities and cost management to make sure we are able to turn this crisis into an opportunity."
- Würth reduced its headcount by 603 during 2020's first half to a count of 78,083. The German group companies employ a total of 24,318 people, which is roughly on the same level as at the end of 2019. The company currently has 33,467 sales force employees.
Würth Group had full-year 2019 sales of $15.5 billion, up 4.8 percent from 2018. Adjusted for currency, 2019 sales grew 4.2 percent.
Throughout 2020, the company is celebrating its 75th anniversary of the start of its global enterprise.