2020 was an unusual and challenging year. It was characterized by uncertainty about supplies and delivery times, and required us to work from home on a large scale and temporarily close and reopen our stores. Nevertheless, we continued to introduce new propositions and expand our infrastructure. And, more than ever, we showed that we are flexible and unconventional. You could say that 2020 taught us what it means to be truly Coolblue.

Flexible

In 2020, we have shown in our organization how flexible we truly are, from our operations to our office. Throughout the year, we constantly had to adjust to changing circumstances that resulted from the global pandemic. We made various changes in our operations and experienced a shift from working at the office to working from home. Furthermore, we saw an increase in the online demand, especially for home-office products and products used in and around the house.

Safety first

We ensured that our Coolbluers could continue to work safely under these circumstances. We for example separated our warehouse into 3 different areas with their own canteen and introduced a limit to the number of customers allowed inside our stores at a time. Furthermore, we have arranged our stores in such a way that a 1.5-meter distance can easily be kept, thanks to plexiglass and contactless payment. Additionally, we set up a 1.5-meter delivery process to ensure that during deliveries as well, the safety of our customers and delivery drivers can be guaranteed.

From office to home office

We started working from home as much as possible in March 2020. Within 2 weeks, all Coolbluers in office departments were able to work from home. We provided them with the equipment for a comfortable home office, such as headsets and desk chairs.

Go for it

In spite of everything that happened in 2020, we kept entrepreneuring and made many larger and smaller improvements.

Expansion CoolblueBikes

We accelerated the expansion of our own bike delivery service, CoolblueBikes, to 11 new cities. We now deliver orders per bike in 23 large cities in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. As a result of this expansion, we doubled the amount of bike deliveries in 2020 compared to the year before and achieved our 1 millionth bike delivery since the start of our bike deliveries.

New stores and in-store app mode

We opened 3 new stores in 2020: one in Leiden, one in Hasselt, and our flagship store in Brussels. We are especially proud of the flagship store, because it is our first store to be fully bilingual, with both French and Dutch as fully supported languages.

To enhance the customer experience in our stores, we have created an in-store mode for our Coolblue app. It allows the customer to easily view a product’s specifications and read product reviews when they scan the QR code next to it. Furthermore, the customer can of course also view and compare our entire assortment and enjoy all other benefits we offer online.

International expansion

In 2020, we were able to make even more customers happy in French-speaking Belgium. Additionally, we successfully took our first steps in Germany with our own infrastructure. We have established our own delivery network, installation service, and bike network in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Unconventional

We continued to be unconventional by introducing new propositions and expanding already existing propositions.

New propositions

We constantly explore new opportunities. In 2020, we started our Home Office Stores as a new service for our business customers. We also expanded our energy proposition, as we installed over 31,000 solar panels and started selling and installing charging stations. Furthermore, we are in the process of acquiring the energy company Servicehouse to pave the road for Coolblue Energy.

Coolblue hit song

We showed our unconventionality in other ways as well, such as our hit song Gewoon, doen. Marlin and Shaqeel, 2 delivery drivers at CoolblueDelivers, produced a tune for an internal Coolblue podcast. This hit the right note with hundreds of Coolbluers who had the song on repeat. We wanted to share this with the rest of the world. We published the song and even created a professional video clip, which received well over 1 million views in 2020.

Friends

Despite missing each other, we also had lots of fun. But to be honest, it is more fun to actually see each other, which is something we are really looking forward to.

In the week of Black Friday, we hit the airwaves with our own Coolblue Radio channel through which we celebrated successes together.

Coolbluers received an update on developments within Coolblue every week via a Short Update video from Pieter, the CEO.

Department-specific developments were discussed in depth during podcasts with subject-matter experts.

We have adjusted our onboarding for office and customer service employees to remotely provide new Coolbluers with a solid onboarding. This 100-day Paint it Blue Journey starts with a digital welcome by the team.

We launched our new, award-winning recruitment website to find new friends.

Looking ahead

Forward thinking

Despite everything going on in 2020, we managed to keep entrepreneuring, continued to be flexible and unconventional, and of course kept in touch with our friends. For 2021, we have great plans which we look forward to carrying out, of which we will name a few here and share others as the year progresses. Next to this, we are also exploring a public listing in 2021 with our shareholders.

Warehouse of the future

Our vision for our warehouse is a warehouse that is even more efficient and ergonomic, even safer, and doesn’t use a shred of packaging material more than is absolutely necessary. Of course, it is also fully powered by solar energy, generated by its solar roof. In 2021, we will continue building this warehouse of the future together.

Creating more Home Office Stores

With the Home Office Store proposition in place, we will expand this service to more businesses in 2021 and help them provide their employees with a comfortable home office.

Expansion of our infrastructure

In 2021, we will continue to expand our infrastructure in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. This expansion will range from opening new stores to opening more bike depots and from expanding our infrastructure for charging stations to Coolblue Energy. Lastly, we will , among others, research and software development to further optimize our product journeys.

Results

Fruit of our labor

We continuously strive to improve our customer satisfaction and our profitability. The various customer journey improvements we implemented in 2020 have contributed to an increase in EBITDA and a high NPS. We look back on our results and the investments made in 2020, and share our outlook for 2021.

NPS results

In order to keep setting the bar for customer-centric entrepreneurship, we always strive to improve our NPS. Thanks to various improvements to our customer journeys and despite the challenges in 2020 we have been able to keep our NPS at a high level: 68.

Income Statement & Balance Sheet Performance

In 2020, our revenue increased by € 505 million to € 1.99 billion (+ 34%), compared to € 1.48 billion in 2019. As a result of the measures taken by the Dutch and Belgian governments, the online market has grown significantly in 2020. We outperformed the market for consumer electronics, which increased by 16.17% in the Netherlands and by 4.53% in Belgium (GfK 2020).

The gross profit margin increased to 22.4% (2019: 20.6%) thanks to the improved purchase conditions, pricing optimisation, the rationalization of our product assortment, and optimal cross-sell opportunities. We focused on offering an improved range of products and services that would suit our customers best. For instance by developing products ourselves when customers are not happy with the current assortment and by setting up reasonable return agreements with our suppliers.

The Selling & Distribution expenses as a percentage of sales decreased to 16.0% (2019: 16.6%), reflecting our efforts in further utilizing and optimizing our infrastructure and marketing strategy. We invested in new stores and growth of CoolblueDelivers.

Administrative expenses as a percentage of sales decreased to 2.1% (2019: 2.6%), reflecting our economies of scale.

The other operating expenses relate to one-off impairments on IT hardware, right of use assets related to offices, and furniture.

The EBITDA, our measure of profitability, increased from € 48.3 million in 2019 to € 114.1 million in 2020. Our focus on product journeys and infrastructures for every product type has paid off and we were able to utilize economies of scale.

In conclusion, our net profit increased from € 15.2 million in 2019 to € 61.1 million in 2020. We are pleased with the developments shown in 2020. We have served many new customers, which we expect to return in 2021.

Working capital development

The main developments in our working capital are explained by increased inventory and increased trade payables. Our inventory increased in 2020 as a result of higher availability to support higher sales, offset by strong focus on inventory management. Improved payment conditions with suppliers and higher sales resulted in increased trade payables. We finance our growth by reinvesting our profits and optimizing our working capital. Our working capital was -/- € 270.7 million at the end of 2020 compared to -/- € 170.8 million at the end of 2019.

Investments

In 2020, we invested € 17.0 million in tangible fixed assets (2019: € 14.5 million). This mainly relates to investments in our infrastructure, such as new stores, our warehouse in Tilburg, and IT hardware, but it also relates to the growth of Products as a Service. We invested € 11.9 million in intangible fixed assets (2019: € 10.7 million). This relates to a part of the software development costs of our website and back-office systems, such as a new warehouse management system.

Improved statement of financial position

Adding the net result for 2020 to equity resulted in a solvability of 18% (2019: 13%), while the current ratio (excluding receivable from shareholder) remained stable at 0.9 (2019: 0.9). We did not pay out any dividends and strengthened our equity position instead. The receivable from the shareholder is available on demand. Our shareholder Mondhoekie B.V. extended the financing in 2020, which resulted in a credit facility for a 2-year period with an extension option for another year.