Würth Group: Multi-channel strategy remains guarantor for success
- Sales increased slightly to EUR 14.4 billion
- Operating result at last year’s level
- Digitalization results in above-average growth of e-commerce
- Double-digit growth of business units Construction and Electrical Wholesale
- Consistent pursuit of innovation strategy
According to the preliminary annual financial statement, the Würth Group reports a sales volume of EUR 14.41 billion in 2020 thus being slightly above previous year (2019: EUR 14.27 billion, +0.9 percent, adjusted for foreign currency effects: +2.0 percent).
"The trades, which we supply with fastening and assembly materials in our core business, are of systemic relevance, which had a positive impact on our business. With our multi-channel strategy, we offer our customers the procurement options they need for a supply of materials under pandemic conditions. With the consistent expansion of our digital offering, we have the right strategy for us and our customers."
The Group has maintained its performance at a stable level by its multi-channel strategy, spreading risks through its international positioning and diversification across various business segments. The development of sales in 2020 reflects the different effects of the pandemic on individual sectors and markets: While the Construction Division (+12.3 percent) and also the German Electrical Wholesale Unit (+10.8 percent) performed very well with sales growth in the double-digit range, sales in the units that directly supply the automotive and mechanical engineering industries declined.
The Group continues to intensify its innovation strategy as planned also in times of crisis: The Innovation Center at the headquarters in Künzelsau is planned to open in 2022. The total amount invested comes to about EUR 70 million. State-of-the-art laboratories and workshops are being built on an area of 15,000 square meters.
E-business sales showed above-average growth of 5.8 percent, climbing to EUR 2.8 billion in 2020. This increased the share of this contact point in total Group sales by one percentage point to 19.3 percent. Due to contact restrictions and lockdowns, business has shifted increasingly to digital sales channels as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Be it online shop, Würth App or e-procurement solutions: Thanks to the consistent pursuit of its digitization strategy and its financial stability, Würth remains a reliable partner and supplier to its customers even during the pandemic. E-business as part of the multi-channel strategy has once again gained in importance.
In Germany, the Würth Group succeeded in achieving growth of 2.8 percent, while Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG as parent company of the Group grew by 7.4 percent. Outside Germany, the Würth Group had to take a sales decline of 0.4 percent.
According to preliminary calculations, the operating result of the Würth Group clearly remained at previous year’s level with EUR 770 million (2019: EUR 770 million).
In spite of the COVID-19 crisis, we did not reduce staff—on the contrary: The number of employees rose by 453, from 78,686 to a new high of 79,139 in 2020. In Germany, the number of employees amounts to 24,514, corresponding to an increase of 0.7 percent. The Group currently has 33,176 sales force employees on the payroll.
The economic forecasts are cautiously optimistic. Also in the second lockdown, German economy is standing strong, but the volatile situation does not allow for a clear forecast. Friedmann is pinning his hopes on the global changes as a whole.
"Vaccinations have begun globally. On 20 January, the new president takes office in the United States. This gives hope that important trade relations will be revived and crucial alliances resumed, displacing uncertainty and unrest. This should help the global economy regain momentum, which is already indicated by the positive economic outlook by leading economic institutions."
The Press Conference on the Annual Financial Statements of the Würth Group will take place on 6 May 2021.
About the Würth Group
The Würth Group is the global market leader in its core business—the sale of fastening and assembly materials. It consists of more than 400 companies in over 80 countries with more than 79,000 employees on its payroll. Over 33,000 of those employees are salaried sales representatives.
In the Group's core business, the Würth Line, the sales program for the skilled trades and industry comprises more than 125,000 products: from screws, screw accessories and anchors to tools, technical chemicals and personal protective equipment. The Allied Companies round off the range by offering products for DIY stores, material for electrical installations, electronic components such as circuit boards and financial services. They account for around 40 percent of the Würth Group’s sales volume.