Maisons du monde: Further decline in furniture sales at Maisons du Monde, which is changing management

(BFM Bourse) – The furniture and interior design specialist will replace Julie Walbaum with François Melchior de Polignac in March. In the fourth quarter, sales were down another 3% year on year.

The fall in activity continues for Maisons du Monde. The furniture and interior decoration specialist announced on Wednesday evening a further decline in sales in the fourth quarter, by 3% compared to the same period of 2021, to 358 million euros.

“The retail environment remained challenging and marked by uncertainty in the final quarter of 2022, amid sustained inflation and rock-bottom consumer confidence,” the company explained. TP ICAP Midcap nevertheless emphasizes that this decline is in line with its expectations.

Handover on March 15

While online sales have returned to growth with an increase of 5.3% over one year, those made in the group’s stores have remained in decline (-5.2% over one year). “In-store traffic improved over the quarter even if it remained negative compared to fourth quarter 2021, at -6% compared to -9% in the third quarter. In France, it was penalized by the shortage of fuel in October 2022, before improving in December thanks to the holiday season,” the company developed.

Over the whole of 2022, Maison du Monde saw a drop in sales of 5.1% to 1.24 billion euros.

But the surprise reserved by the company remains the announcement of its change of management. The director general, Julie Walbaum, in office since 2018, sees her term expire on March 15. On this date, the Board of Directors chose to appoint François-Melchior de Polignac to succeed him. The latter has already joined the group as deputy general manager to ensure a “good and efficient” transition, according to the terms of the company’s press release.

A “solid” CV

François-Melchior de Polignac began his career at L’Oréal but above all earned his stripes at Carrefour since 2000. A graduate of HEC, he held various positions with the retail group. In particular, the manager piloted a transformation program enabling savings of more than 2 billion euros. Since 2020, he has been Managing Director and Area Executive Director in charge of Poland, Belgium and Romania, three countries where he had previously held other positions.

For TP ICAP Midcap the decision to change the general management “probably follows the loss of confidence of investors concerning the communication of the group after the last profit warning [avertissement sur résultats, NDLR]” of the group.

If the design office judges the CV of the future general manager to be “solid”, it warns that the decision of Maisons du Monde “is a double-edged sword”. “We appreciated Ms. Walbaum’s digital strategy. In addition, the arrival of a new CEO generally causes disruption within the group, leaving little room for short-term recovery”, underlines TP ICAP Midcap. The financial intermediary maintained his advice to “keep” and said he was waiting for more details on the strategic vision of François-Melchior de Polignac.

On the Paris Stock Exchange, the market prefers to sanction the Maisons du Monde action. Around 4:35 p.m., the title lost 4.2%.

Julien Marion – ©2023 BFM Bourse

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