Gross margin, expenses and operating result

Higher gross margin compensates turnover decline at comparable activities
Since Macintosh Retail Group had anticipated difficult market circumstances early in the year, particular emphasis was placed on limiting the expected effects. The gross margin percentage at comparable activities improved as a result of improved agreements with suppliers, strict stock control and sharper promotion and product range policies. A fall in turn-over at comparable activities was compensated by the gross margin increase. The gross margin as a percentage of turnover went up 2.4 percentage points to 45.3%, also owing to a different turnover mix because of the acquisition of Brantano.
Despite cost control measures, costs as a percentage of turnover at comparable activities were higher, due to a fall in turnover combined with higher absolute costs on account of expansion and organic cost increases (collective labour agreement developments, higher rentals and energy and freight expenses). 


Operating result of € 54.1 million
The operating result amounted to € 54.1 million, compared with € 66.9 million in 2007, a record year. Operating result benefited from a gross gain of € 8.5 million on the sale of real estate at Kwantum. A total amount of € 12.7 million was charged to operating result for the full year 2008 as a consequence of provisions and impairments of loss-making stores at GP Décors, Brantano UK and BelCompany Belgium as well as costs in connection with the integration / reorganisation of Brantano. € 3.0 million of this amount related to the first half year.
If these non-recurring effects are not taken into account, the underlying operating result in the second half of the year was at the same level as that of 2007.
The operating result as a percentage of turnover (EBIT margin) was 4.6% (2007: 7.3%).