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Zalando Plunges After Cutting Guidance on Worsening Economy

German Skater and Model, Embwoi for Zalando’s Summer Campaign, ‘Activists of Optimism'. Jorde Perez Ortiz.
The German fashion e-tailer's stock dropped as much as 17 percent in early German trading. It’s fallen about 70 percent this year. (Jorde Perez Ortiz)

The German e-tailer’s shares tumbled the most in more than three years after Europe’s largest online retailer slashed its profit forecast, blaming worse-than-anticipated macroeconomic conditions.

The stock dropped as much as 17 percent in early German trading. It’s fallen about 70 percent this year.

The retailer said late Thursday that it expects full-year adjusted earnings of €180 million ($190 million) to 260 million euros, well below previous guidance in May of €430 million to €510 million. The second quarter is still profitable, but weaker than expected, Zalando said.

While sales for online retailers boomed during lockdowns, when people were forced to shop online, that growth has since cooled as normal shopping patterns return. Record euro-zone inflation is also hitting consumer confidence.

“After some promising signs of improving consumer demand between the end of April and May things seem to have deteriorated significantly in June,” said Guido Lucarelli, an analyst at Citigroup, adding that he didn’t see much hope for a recovery in the second half, “and possibly neither in the first half of 2023.”

Asos Plc and Boohoo Group Plc, two of Britain’s biggest e-commerce chains, last week also reported slowing sales in a fresh sign of consumer distress. Asos slashed its profit and sales guidance while Boohoo recorded the first UK sales decline in its history as shoppers bought less online and returned more goods.

Zalando has been expanding aggressively. Last year, when online sales were booming, it set out a plan to corner a 10th of Europe’s fashion market — estimated to be worth €450 billion in the long term.

By Katie Linsell

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