(Adds CEO comment, detail on online sales)
COPENHAGEN, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Pandora expects sales growth in 2021, its first in three years, despite many shops still being closed due to the pandemic, the jewellery maker said on Thursday.
Pandora, best known for its silver charm bracelets, had a strong end to last year, helped by improving online sales and customers spending more on gifts and discretionary goods instead of travel and services.
Online sales more than doubled last year to account for nearly one-third of sales, nearly offsetting the revenue loss from physical shops.
“In general we see more committed customers during lockdown,” CEO Alexander Lacik said in an interview.
“People still want to celebrate birthdays and other events, and maybe even more so when you can’t meet someone physically,” he said.
Pandora’s shares were trading 2.3% higher at 0832 GMT.
The company has grown to become the world’s biggest jewellery maker by finding a niche between cheaper accessories in stores such as H&M and more expensive jewellery from the likes of Tiffany & Co..
Lacik said he doesn’t expect a setback in spending on jewellery when lockdown restrictions are eased.
The company forecasts positive topline growth this year and an EBIT margin above 21%, slightly higher than last year but lower than in 2019.
This, despite expectations that about a quarter of its more than 2,700 shops worldwide will remain shut for the first half of the year.
For the final quarter of last year, Pandora reported sales down 1% to 7.89 billion Danish crowns ($1.27 billion) versus the 7.96 billion expected by analysts.
Operating profit (EBIT) stood at 2.21 billion crowns, against the 2.23 billion forecast by analysts.
$1 = 6.1913 Danish crowns Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely