As it plots ‘significant expansion,’ On will partner with Dick’s and launch new products

Live Brief:

  • Running brand On grew net sales by over 50% in the fourth quarter and 70% for the year, with both DTC and wholesale channels gaining steam. The company’s DTC business increased 76.7% in Q4, while wholesale increased by 39.3%, according to a company press release.
  • During the same time period, net loss ballooned by 7,195%. For the year, net loss increased by over 500%. Operating losses also grew substantially, rising by almost 10,000% in Q4 and more than 700% for the year.
  • Those losses were mostly driven by stock compensation tied to its IPO, and Telsey Advisory Group Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst Cristina Fernández noted that “sales, gross margin and adjusted EBITDA all came in above our expectation. So all in, the report was very positive and the brand has a lot of momentum with increasing brand awareness and new product introduction.”

Live Insight:

On, which went public in September last year, has big plans for the year ahead after an IPO that raised its brand awareness and brought in 690 million Swiss Francs (about $740 million at the time of publish) in proceeds.

The company is planning for a “significant expansion” of its product offerings in the running, outdoor and lifestyle categories this year, including new shoe styles, apparel items and accessories. A women’s bra line is coming down the line, and other items that help customers get out and exercise.

Already, the new offerings have led to “very strong pre-orders” from wholesale partners this year and the company anticipates reaching “a much larger global fan base” in the year ahead. On will also expand its brick-and-mortar footprint, with its first flagship stores planned for Europe and Asia (excluding China, where it already has a presence).

“Our financial results in the fourth quarter are further validation of the very strong, global demand for the On brand and our commitment to managing the company with a long-term, growth- and profitability-driven mindset,” Martin Hoffmann, co-CEO and chief financial officer of On, said in a statement. “We achieved over 70% growth in net sales in 2021 while at the same time increasing our gross profit and adjusted EBITDA margin. We continued to see strong demand across all regions and product categories with North America and China exceptional showing growth rates. With 2022 Now underway, we are even more confident and excited about the global growth opportunities and many new products that will allow our customers to move.”

David Allemann, co-founder and executive co-Chairman of On, said on a conference call that all of On’s stores had reached profitability and outlined strong wholesale deals with retailers like REI (with which it exclusively launched a trail running shoe), Nordstrom and Foot Locker. On is planning to expand its Nordstrom shop-in-shops in the year ahead and will also expand its partnerships with JD Sports and Foot Locker.

The latter two are aimed at reaching a younger consumer. Dick’s will also become a wholesale partner come this summer, as will its Public Lands banner, to broaden On’s exposure to running and outdoor consumers, respectively.

“The On brand truly is on fire,” Allemann said.

However, the company has faced challenges that are pleading the rest of the industry as well, with high air freight costs and factory closures in Vietnam. Executives signaled that more issues could be ahead as well.

“Of course, COVID is not over. A war in Europe is not just a human tragedy, but could have ramifications in global trade and inflation is a challenge to consider,” Allemann said. “We remain on the lookout, vigilant to take on risks as they arrive.”

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