Annual Report 2021

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Comparison of actual and forecast business performance

Business performance with strong acceleration over the course of the year

Sales and EBIT exceed full year guidance

First initial progress in successfully executing “CLAIM 5”

In fiscal year 2021, HUGO BOSS recorded strong improvements in sales, earnings and free cash flow. While the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic were still noticeable at the beginning of the year, particularly in Europe, business recovery strongly accelerated from the second quarter onwards. As a result of the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions and strong progress in vaccination campaigns, global consumer sentiment picked up noticeably. The corresponding increase in local demand was particularly evident in Europe and the Americas. In the third quarter, in light of a further strong recovery of its global business, HUGO BOSS already returned to pre-pandemic sales and earnings levels. Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Company recorded the highest quarterly sales in its history thanks to a further acceleration in momentum. As a result, HUGO BOSS was able to exceed its sales and earnings targets for fiscal year 2021, which had already been revised upwards back in October.

The successful execution of several key brand, product, and sales initiatives as part of its “CLAIM 5” strategy presented in August also drove the business performance of HUGO BOSS in 2021. In line with its strategic claim “Boost Brands”, in 2021 the Company has started to comprehensively renew the global brand image of BOSS and HUGO and to expand its marketing activities to significantly drive brand relevance, in particular among younger consumers. In this context, the successful collaboration between BOSS and the American sportswear brand Russell Athletic marked an important milestone in the past fiscal year. In line with its claim “Product is King”, this cooperation clearly emphasizes the ambition of BOSS to further strengthen its position in the important casualwear segment and to establish itself as a true 24/7 lifestyle brand. At the same time, HUGO – with its broad range of trendy and modern products – has made important initial progress towards becoming the first point of contact for younger consumers. HUGO BOSS also achieved first successes with regard to its two claims “Lead in Digital” and “Rebalance Omnichannel”. To these ends, the Company successfully established the HUGO BOSS Digital Campus, aimed at further strengthening the global digital business as well as the CRM and tech capabilities of HUGO BOSS. One of the campus’ first priorities has been the successful implementation of the global relaunch of in early 2022. At the same time, HUGO BOSS also further optimized its global store network in 2021, pushing ahead in particular with the modernization and emotionalization of existing points of sale. New store concepts for BOSS and HUGO, which aim to be significantly more inviting, digital and productive than the previous ones, can be experienced by customers in first stores in Germany and the United Arab Emirates since late 2021. In line with its claim “Organize for Growth”, the Company further strengthened its organizational structure in 2021 and also made important progress towards further increasing efficiency and flexibility along its value chain. Also here, HUGO BOSS continued to further drive digitalization. At the same time, the Company initiated important measures in 2021 to minimize the risk of pandemic-related shortages in the global supply chain and the related increase in material and freight costs. In this context, the Company was particularly successful in ensuring sufficient product availability also in 2021. Group Strategy, Sourcing and Production

Following the gradual lifting of pandemic-related restrictions and the noticeable business recovery, together with the publication of positive second quarter results in July 2021, HUGO BOSS specified its initial sales and earnings forecast for fiscal year 2021, as published in March 2021. The strong acceleration in sales and earnings development in the third quarter prompted HUGO BOSS to finally raise its full year sales and earnings forecast in October. Thanks to the strong final quarter, the Company ultimately succeeded in exceeding both, the specified and the raised forecast.

Comparison of actual and forecast business performance



Results 2020


Initial forecast 2021


Specification of forecast 20211


Increase of forecast 20212


Results 2021

Group sales


EUR 1,946 million


Significant increase


Increase by 30-35%3


Increase by ~40%3


Increase by 43%3 to EUR 2,786 million

Operating result (EBIT)


EUR 236 million


Strong increase


EUR 125 million
to EUR 175 million


EUR 175 million
to EUR 200 million


EUR 228 million

Net income


EUR 219 million


Strong increase




EUR 144 million

TNWC as a percentage
of sales




Moderate decline


Improvement to a level of between 21% and 23%


Improvement to a level of between 19% and 20%


Improvement to 17.2%

Capital expenditure


EUR 80 million


Moderate increase


EUR 100 million to
EUR 130 million



EUR 104 million


Specification of sales and earnings forecast in July 2021; specification of the forecast for trade net working capital (TNWC) as a percentage of sales and capital expenditure with the publication of the half year results in August 2021.


Increase in sales and earnings forecast in October 2021; adjustment of the forecast for trade net working capital (TNWC) as a percentage of sales with the publication of the third quarter results in November 2021.



In 2021, Group sales increased by 43%, both on a reported and currency-adjusted basis, totaling EUR 2,786 million (2020: EUR 1,946 million). Both brands, BOSS and HUGO, as well as all regions and distribution channels, recorded significant increases, thus contributing to growth. Consequently, currency-adjusted sales remained only 1% below pre-pandemic levels (2019: EUR 2,884 million), with an average of around 10% of the Group’s stores being affected by pandemic-related temporary closures during the year. Earnings Development, Sales Performance

In light of the strong top-line performance, both the operating result (EBIT) and the Group’s net income also recovered noticeably over the course of the year, each recording strong improvements. Consequently, HUGO BOSS generated an EBIT of EUR 228 million in fiscal year 2021 (2020: minus EUR 236 million). The earnings development was also supported by improvements in gross margin as well as strong operating overhead leverage. Accordingly, the Group’s net income totaled EUR 144 million in fiscal year 2021 (2020: minus EUR 219 million). Earnings Development, Income Statement

The moving average of trade net working capital (TNWC) as a percentage of sales on the basis of the last four quarters improved to 17.2% (2020: 28.7%), primarily reflecting the significant increase in Group sales. In addition, a reduction in inventories and higher trade payables contributed to this development. Net Assets

Capital expenditure increased by 30% to EUR 104 million (2020: EUR 80 million). In 2021, investing activity continued to focus on optimizing and modernizing the Group’s own store network as well as digitalizing the business model along the entire value chain. Financial Position, Capital Expenditure

In fiscal year 2021, HUGO BOSS generated the strongest free cash flow in the Company’s history. At EUR 559 million, free cash flow more than tripled compared to the prior year (2020: EUR 164 million). The strong improvement is mainly attributable to the significant top- and bottom-line growth as well as noticeable improvements in trade net working capital (TNWC). Financial Position, Statement of Cash Flows and Free Cash Flow