Nine-month report: GfK continues transformation with solid quarter

gfkNuremberg, 12 November 2014 – The GfK Group has continued driving its strategic transformation in the third quarter and has come closer to meeting its forecast for the year.

Sales were €1,054.9 million in the first nine months of the year, down by 1.6 percent in organic terms. This development is in line with GfK’s expectation to close the year with sales up to 1.5 percent lower than 2013. The negative impact of currency effects has softened around mid-year, but still pushes overall growth to minus 3.2 percent.

Matthias Hartmann, CEO of GfK SE, explained: “After the first three quarters of the year, we are confident of achieving our 2014 targets. The transformation of our offering is progressing well. By the end of the year, we will have completed the key projects for our newly aligned product portfolio. We continue to accept the impact on sales and the margin in certain areas of our business, as we are investing as planned and sustainably transforming our business. This will facilitate GfK’s future growth.”

The Consumer Choices sector recorded strong growth of 2.8 percent in organic terms. This high-profit sector continues to pursue a growth strategy and sees heavy investment in growth.

The Consumer Experiences sector, which is realigning its product portfolio, reported a 4.6 percent sales decrease in organic terms. In the third quarter of this year, however, the rate at which sales decreased was considerably lower than in the first half of the year. The focus in this sector is on improving income and the margin, which climbed 1.1 percentage points in the period reported.

GfK’s business developed in line with this strategy during the first nine months of 2014. The GfK Group’s margin was 10.9 percent compared with 11.6 percent in the same period of the previous year. Adjusted for the effect of a switch of pension plan in 2013, the margin was at a constant level. The cash flow from operating activities was up by €9.4 million at Group level to €132.9 million compared with the same period in the previous year.

The Group’s forecast for the full year remains unchanged.

As at 30 September 2014, the GfK Group had 13,332 employees, 392 more than at the end of 2013. The expansion mainly took place in the region Central Eastern Europe/META, as part of creating centralized services, and in the growth region of Asia and the Pacific. A requirement for additional headcount arose as part of growth projects: For example, the number of employees for coding related to the new retail panels was increased and new employees were recruited to set up the TV panel in Brazil. Conversely, in the regions Southern and Western Europe as well as North America, the number of employees was reduced in view of the weak level of incoming orders.


GfK is set to complete the key projects related to the Group’s ongoing transformation by the end of this year. The financial year will therefore be characterized by higher expenses and an increased level of investment.

The company expects that the modest development of the sales figures in the first nine months of 2014 will not be entirely compensated by stronger growth in the final quarter of the year. Consequently, the Management Board anticipates organic sales growth ranging from -1.5 percent to 0 percent. The target range for the margin is 12 percent to 12.5 percent.

The full nine-month report is available on the Investor Relations website:

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