Dear Shareholders, Dear Readers,
Despite a difficult economic environment, 2012 proved a successful year for HUGO BOSS. Sales excluding currency effects were up 10% to exceed EUR 2.3 billion as the Group's operating result climbed by 13%. As a consequence, we have met our forecast and taken another major stride toward reaching our medium-term goals.
Our strong brands have made key contributions to this performance. It is no coincidence that we chose our May 2012 Fashion Show in Beijing as the theme of this year's annual report. As the largest fashion event HUGO BOSS has ever staged in Asia, the show marks a significant milestone in our development in the region. The wholly positive feedback from end consumers and business partners around the world has reaffirmed our decision to invest still further in the visibility of HUGO BOSS and its brands across Asia.
The year 2012 also brought a watershed in our own retail activities. For the first time in our history, sales at stores directly operated by HUGO BOSS exceeded those to the Group's wholesale partners. Just a few years ago this would have been unthinkable.
The own retail business will drive growth in the future as well. In 2013 we will continue to expand the store networks in each of our regions. We will be consistently showcasing our brands to our customers in unique and luxurious environments – first and foremost at our new flagship venues in Berlin, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The active management of shop-in-shops, which had previously been run by wholesale partners, is playing an equally important role in the growth of our own retail operations. Last year we established this business model with acquisitions in Spain, Switzerland and Canada. Tapping this comprehensive control of our brand presentation has enabled us to achieve substantial productivity increases in many cases while enhancing the HUGO BOSS image and profile in multi-brand environments. We intend to further advance this distribution format during the current business year.
Notwithstanding today's challenging market environment, the successes of these past years lend substance to our expectation of renewed profitable growth. Thanks to our powerful brands and first-class products, we are confident that we can extend our position in the global premium and luxury apparel segment and post stronger growth than the market as a whole.
Our performance in 2012 is not only testimony to all our work. It also inspires us to add yet another chapter to the success story that is HUGO BOSS. I am certain that our organization has everything it needs to record further profitable growth.
Over the past year I have again been profoundly impressed by the passion and commitment of our employees. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank them, as I would our customers, business partners and shareholders. With their help we will ensure that 2013 becomes yet another successful year for HUGO BOSS.
CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board