NEWS16 November 2009

‘Satisfactory’ performance at GfK as sales stabilise in Q3

Europe Financials

GERMANY— GfK today reported slight sales declines for both the third quarter and first nine months of the year but said its performance had been “robust”.

Third-quarter sales were down 3.9% to €282.7m on Q3 2008, and for the first nine months of the year group sales were €840.2m, down 4.9% on last year.

Operating margin, however, which reflects the ratio of adjusted operating income to sales, rose to 13.5 from 12.6%.

The firm said that sales had “stabilised” during the quarter, and income and margin figures had exceeded those reported in the same quarter last year.

By sector, third-quarter custom research sales totalled €170.9m, which the firm said corresponded with Q2’s figure of €175.6m. For the January to September periodsales dropped 10.5% compared to last year and income almost halved from €32.2m in 2008 to €17.1m.

GfK said that this sector, which accounts for the bulk of its business, had been affected “more severely” by the economic crisis than its other business operations.

Q3 sales for the retail and technology sector were up 5.4% to €80.4m and rose 8.3% to €237.4m for the first nine months of the year.

Lastly, the media sector achieved sales of €30.6m during the third quarter, which was a similar total to the €31.9m figure reported in the second quarter this year. For the first nine months of the year sales dropped 2% to €93.9m.

While tough times are still predicted for the custom research business, GfK said the media and retail and technology sectors could expect a “steadier” performance thanks to their panel businesses.

The firm said that it expected total 2009 sales to be similar to last year’s, and noted that orders for October had matched the levels received in October 2008.

CEO Klaus Wübbenhorst (pictured) said: “In view of the challenging economic situation, the results highlight that our strategy and our active cost management have paid off. I am confident that GfK will emerge stronger from the economic crisis.”