From SkiStar's Year-End Report 2022/23
Stable growth in turnover – high booking rate for the winter
Another financial year has passed, as we continued our transformation into a mountain tourism company that can offer active recreation all year round. We can report that we are continuing to grow, while the results for 2022/23 were affected by higher overheads than expected. The summer season builds volumes for the future We begin by summarising the fourth quarter, which is now characterised by a summer season where we achieved SEK 345 million in revenue, an increase of SEK 121 (+54 percent), and an operating loss of SEK -230 million, a smaller loss compared with the same period of the previous year (SEK -265 million). As planned, we have continued to build impetus for the future during the summer months. The price adjustment of both Bike/TrailPass, the introduction of destination passes and reduced prices for bike hire have all contributed to this.
We have had more active guests at our destinations during the quarter, with the proportion of activity days during the period increasing by 16 percent to 253,000 (218,000). In addition, getting more people moving is an important part of our sustainability work.
The exploitation operations in the quarter have contributed positively with increased revenue (SEK 101 million) and operating profit, which has increased by SEK 68 million.
Stable growth in turnover
Figures for the full year showed that we continued to grow, as we increased turnover by 4.5 percent to SEK 4,304 million (SEK 4,118 million) and had an operating profit of SEK 604 million (SEK 884 million). During the year, we have had increased personnel and marketing costs linked to the expanded year-round operations, as well as increased repair and maintenance costs. As announced previously, we are reviewing our costs and, from 1 September 2023, we have had new organisation structures in place to achieve more efficient and long-term sustainable working methods for our year-round operations with adapted costs. The savings are estimated to have a full-year effect of SEK 50 million.
We have had many guests during the year and the number of skier and activity days amounted to 5,935,145 (6,322,00), the second best numbers ever, after last year’s record. Our digital platforms are the basis of our business model and our main sales channel. We have intensified digitalisation during the year. In total, we had 33 (28) million digital visits and sales of 2.7 (2.3) million Swedish kronor via our digital channels. Currently, 70 percent of all purchases take place on skistar.com or in the SkiStar app, which is wholly in line with our strategy to meet the guest where the guest wants to be. We are also increasing the number of members. Our customer database SkiStar Member, in which we currently have almost 1.8 (1.5) million members, creates good conditions for growth and more business opportunities.
We continue to grow our share of the market within retail and increased our sales during the year, both online at skistarshop.com (+39 percent) and in our physical stores (+6 percent). The growth of the operation of Property Development and Exploitation segment continues at a slightly slower rate in line with our strategy.
On the way to more sustainable mountain experiences
For SkiStar, a change in the climate will have a direct and considerable impact on our operations in the future. White, cold winters are a prerequisite for winter operations, where our geographical location in Scandinavia will be favourable, according to the latest research, including a study recently published in Nature Climate Change. To reduce our climate impact, we have set ambitious targets to halve our climate footprint by 2030. To assure ourselves that the work is sufficient, our climate targets have been developed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) method. It is pleasing that SBTi approved our targets in June 2023. One area we have focused on to both reduce our energy consumption and save costs has been energy efficiency. Thanks to more efficient snow-making processes and a review of our energy use, we have managed to reduce usage by ten percent during the year.
Continued strong demand for the winter season
Despite the competitive situation and challenging economic times for many households, the strong demand for mountain holidays during the winter continues. Measured in the number of overnight stays booked through SkiStar’s accommodation agency, we have a booking rate of +7 percent for the winter, compared to the same time last year. We continue to see great interest from our foreign guests, especially from Denmark, but also from other markets such as Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, driven by an advantageous currency exchange rate, which offers the opportunity for an even more affordable holiday. I am delighted that we are now seeing an increase in our domestic guests from Sweden and Norway. For the winter season we have, as previously communicated, made big investments in order to deliver even more memorable mountain experiences for our guests, while creating growth and value for our shareholders in the short and long term. I am proud of all the improvements we have introduced for the winter such as the new, modern Söderåsen Express in Sälen, Lodge Express in Hemsedal and the increased lift capacity in the area named Sadeln in Åre. This is in addition to even better snow production, more food experiences and, not least, the addition of the new SkiStar Lodge Trysil and SkiStar Lodge Vemdalen to our Lodge & Hotels business area.
I am, therefore, hopeful for the future due to the continued high interest in creating memorable mountain experiences at SkiStar’s destinations and look forward with confidence to a nice long season.
Stefan Sjöstrand, CEO