2020 Sustainability Report

10 Until the start of the 2020 financial year, we continued to see the impact of the numerous measures we have taken in recent years to cut costs, boost productivity and competitive- ness on price, expand our manufacturing in Serbia, construct new buildings at the produc- tion site in Germany and keep enhancing our product range: at the end of the 1st quarter of 2020, the number of incoming orders, our turnover and orders awaiting processing were all well up on the previous year. However, due to the ensuing coronavirus pandemic, this pleasing trend did not continue and most of our subsidiary companies were unable to achieve their sales targets for 2020. Achieving those targets was made even more difficult by the continuing downward pressure on the price of office chairs and changes in the exchange rate between foreign currencies and the Swiss franc. Consequently, the consolidated total turnover for the group in the 2020 financial year was down by 3.6 % compared with the previous year. The negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the whole economy meant that our production sites were working alternately at more than full capacity and well below capac- ity. Without making partially use of the state-supported short-time working compensation system, we would not have been able to make up adequately for the reduced productivity and, above all, the additional costs arising from this problematic fluctuation in capacity utilisation. Thanks to introducing some short-time working and taking cost-cutting measures at an early stage in all areas of business and at our subsidiaries, the group was able to avoid a negative result. The consolidated result for the 2020 financial year showed an annual profit of CHF 1.4 million. In addition to the turbulence throughout the economy, the coronavirus pandemic also led to some fundamental changes in our sector. Even before the pandemic, especially in the big cities, office space was tending to become more like living space. Now, in a process hugely accelerated by the coronavirus crisis, living space at home has increasingly be- come working space. There will still be offices in future, albeit considerably reduced in number and size, and the “office space is living space” trend is likely to continue. At the same time it is to be expected that working from home will also be more common in future and will be encouraged, especially by big companies. As a result of this trend, personal workspaces will be further reduced in number, and shared workspaces will be smaller. Consequently, compa- nies’ need for office furniture will be less. On the other hand, the potential of the “home office” market will continue to grow. Business performance of the Girsberger Group “We regard entrepreneurial independence primarily as a responsibility to show creativity, courage and perseverance in maintaining a balance between commercial success, social jus- tice and care for the environ- ment.”