SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|o||REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|x||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|o||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|o||SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
Commission File Number: 001-40795
On Holding AG
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(Translation of Registrant's name into English)
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
8005 Zurich, Switzerland
(Address of principal executive offices)
|Chief Financial Officer and Co-Chief Executive Officer|
8005 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel: +41 44 225 1555
Fax: +41 44 225 1556
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Deanna L. Kirkpatrick
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
450 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A ordinary shares, par value CHF 0.10 per share||ONON||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.
(Title of Class)
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.
(Title of Class)
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
Class A ordinary shares: 281,976,387
Class B voting rights shares: 345,437,500
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. ☒ Yes ☐ No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. ☐ Yes ☒ No
Note—Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. ☒ Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). ☒ Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer ☒ Accelerated Filer ☐ Non-Accelerated Filer ☐ Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the
financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to
previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a
recovery analysis of incentive based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive
officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAP ☐
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board ☒ Other ☐
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. ☐ Item 17 ☐ Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). ☐ Yes ☒ No
On makes great strides in the sustainability field with the launch of the circularity program Cyclon and the unveiling of Cloudprime; the first-ever shoe made from materials that were made from the conversion of carbon emissions.
On expands its performance running range with key products such as the Cloudmonster, Cloudrunner and Cloudgo.
On's new office, On Labs, opens in Zürich, Switzerland with more than 30% of the space dedicated to research and product development.
On opens its first APAC store outside of China in Tokyo, Japan.
Thanks to the incredible work of the entire team, On for the first time exceeds CHF 1 billion in sales in fiscal year 2022.
Gustav Iden wins the men's Ironman World Championship in Hawaii with a new overall course record, as well as running a course record marathon wearing a prototype On shoe.
Athlete Refugee Team member Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu wins the 3000m Stockholm Diamond League race in a world-leading time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OTHER INFORMATION
Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, all references in this Annual Report on Form 20-F ("Annual Report") to the terms “On,” “On Holding AG,” the “Company,” “we,” “our,” “ours,” “us” or similar terms refer to On Holding AG and its consolidated subsidiaries. References to our “extended founder team” or our “executive officers” are to (i) our “co-founders,” which consists of (a) our co-founders and executive co-chairmen, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti, and (b) our co-founder and executive director Olivier Bernhard, (ii) our chief financial officer and co-chief executive officer, Martin Hoffmann, and (iii) our co-chief executive officer, Marc Maurer.
All references to “U.S. dollars,” “dollars” or “USD” are to the lawful currency of the United States of America. All references to “CHF” or “Swiss francs” are to the lawful currency of Switzerland. In this Annual Report, amounts that are converted from CHF to U.S. dollars are converted at an exchange rate of USD 1.08 per CHF, the exchange rate as of December 31, 2022.
We maintain our books and records in Swiss francs and prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (“IFRS”).
We have made rounding adjustments to some of the figures included in this Annual Report Accordingly, numerical figures, including percentages shown as totals in some tables may not be an arithmetic aggregation of the figures that preceded them. With respect to financial information set out in this Annual Report, a dash (“—”) signifies that the relevant figure is not available or not applicable, while a zero (“0.0”) signifies that the relevant figure is available but is or has been rounded to zero.
Trademarks and Trade Names
We own various trademark registrations and applications, and unregistered trademarks, including, among others, On, On Running, Run On Clouds, CloudTec, Speedboard, Helion, Missiongrip, Cyclon, Cloud, Cloudflow, Cloudswift, Cloud X, Cloudstratus, Cloudrock, Cloud Terry, Cloudnova, Cloudneo, CleanCloud, Cloudaway, Cloudultra, Dream On, Cloudprime and our other registered and common law trade names, trademarks and service marks, including our corporate logo. Solely for convenience, some of the trademarks, service marks and trade names referred to in this Annual Report are listed without the ® and ™ symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, rights to such trademarks, service marks and trade names.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements. Many of the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “expect,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and “should,” among others.
Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places in this Annual Report and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our intent, belief or current expectations. Forward-looking statements are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently
available to our management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements due to various factors, including, but not limited to, those identified under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report. These risks and uncertainties include factors relating to:
•the strength of our brand and our ability to maintain our reputation and brand image;
•our ability and the ability of our independent manufacturers and other suppliers to follow responsible business practices;
•our ability to implement our growth strategy;
•the concentration of our business in a single, discretionary product category, namely footwear, apparel and accessories;
•our ability to continue to innovate and meet consumer expectations;
•changes in consumer tastes and preferences including in products and sustainability, and our ability to connect with our consumer base;
•our generation of net losses in the past and potentially in the future;
•our limited operating experience in new markets;
•our ability to open new stores at locations that will attract customers to our premium products;
•our ability to compete and conduct our business in the future;
•health epidemics, pandemics and similar outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic;
•general economic, political, demographic and business conditions worldwide, including geopolitical uncertainty and instability, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict;
•the success of operating initiatives, including advertising and promotional efforts and new product and concept development by us and our competitors;
•our ability to strengthen our direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) channel;
•our ability to execute on our sustainability strategy and achieve our sustainability-related goals and targets, including sustainable product offerings;
•our third-party suppliers, manufacturers and other partners, including their financial stability and our ability to find suitable partners to implement our growth strategy;
•supply chain disruptions, inflation and increased costs in supplies, goods and transportation;
•the availability of qualified personnel and the ability to retain such personnel, including our extended founder team;
•our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products and manage product manufacturing decisions;
•our ability to distribute products through our wholesale channel;
•changes in commodity, material, labor, distribution and other operating costs;
•our international operations;
•our ability to protect our intellectual property and defend against allegations of violations of third-party intellectual property by us;
•security breaches and other disruptions to our IT systems;
•increased hacking activity against the critical infrastructure of any nation or organization that retaliates against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine;
•our reliance on complex IT systems;
•financial accounting and tax matters;
•any material weaknesses identified in our internal control over financial reporting and remediation efforts;
•the potential impact of, and our compliance with, new and existing laws and regulations;
•other factors that may affect our financial condition, liquidity and results of operations; and
•other risk factors discussed under “Risk Factors.”
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update them in light of new information or future developments or to release publicly any revisions to these statements in order to reflect later events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
ITEM 1. IDENTIFY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS
ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION
B. Capitalization and Indebtedness
C. Reason for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
D. Risk Factors
In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 20-F, the following risk factors, as well as additional factors not presently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial, should be considered in evaluating our business. Our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be materially adversely affected as a result of any of these risks.
Summary of Risk Factors
The following is a summary of the material risk factors associated with an investment in our Class A ordinary shares, which are more fully described below:
I.Risks Related to Our Business, Business Strategy, and Industry
v.Economic and market conditions
II.Risks Related to Our Operations, Distribution Network and Suppliers
ii.Supply chain and distribution
iii.Third-party partners and suppliers
v.International and political matters
vi.Climate and environmental matters
III.Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property and Information Technology
i.Protection of intellectual property and litigation
ii.Information technology security, laws, and systems
IV.Risks Related to Our Financial, Accounting and Tax Matters
i.Additional investments of our resources
ii.Financial reporting and internal controls
iii.Foreign currency exchange rates
V.Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Compliance
i.Trade policies, tariffs and import/export regulations
ii.Data protection laws
iii.Compliance with legal or regulatory requirements, proceedings and audits
VI.Risks Associated with Securities Markets and Ownership of our Class A Ordinary Shares
i.Dual class structure of our shares
ii.Foreign private issuer status
iii.Pricing volatility, dividends, and dilution
iv.Swiss corporate law
I. Risks Related to Our Business, Business Strategy, and Industry
(i) Brand resilience
Our business depends on the strength of our premium brand, and if we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, our results of operations may be adversely impacted.
The “On” name, our claims (such as “Running on Clouds”), our product or technical-related trademarks (such as “Cloud,” “Cloudsurfer,” “Cloudswift,” and “CloudTec,” among others), our designs and technical patents (such as the “Speedboard”) and our premium performance brand image are integral to our business, and to the implementation of our strategies for expanding our business. We believe that the brand image we have cultivated has significantly contributed to the success of our business and is critical to maintaining and expanding our customer base. Maintaining and enhancing our premium brand may require us to make substantial investments in areas such as product design, intellectual property (such as patents and trademarks), marketing, operations, community relations, employee training and our wholesale and DTC channels, such as investments in additional distribution partnerships, the opening of new physical and e-commerce stores and other e-commerce projects, and these investments may not be successful.
We anticipate that, as our business expands into new markets and new product categories, maintaining and enhancing our brand may become more difficult and require expending significant resources. If these or similar efforts in the future are not successful, our brand may be adversely impacted. Even if such efforts are successful, they may dilute our image in our core running market. Conversely, as we penetrate these new markets and our brand becomes more widely available, it could potentially detract from the appeal stemming from the relative novelty and scarcity of our brand. Our brand may be adversely affected if our public image or reputation is tarnished by negative publicity, which may occur due to quality issues relating to our production in China, Vietnam, or Indonesia, or our use of certain raw materials or product-related environmental concerns. Furthermore, our exposure to social media platforms may accelerate and aggravate such negative publicity. In addition, ineffective marketing, product diversion to unauthorized distribution channels, product defects, counterfeit products, unfair labor practices and failure or legal limitations to protect the intellectual property rights in our brand are some of the potential threats to the strength of our brand, and those and other factors could diminish consumer confidence in us. Maintaining and enhancing our brand will depend largely on our ability to be a leader in premium performance footwear, the apparel and accessories industry and to continue to offer a range of high-quality products to our customers, which we may not execute successfully. Any of these factors could harm our sales, profitability, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
A key element of our growth strategy is innovation, product development and expansion of our product offerings into new product categories. However, we may be unsuccessful in designing products that meet our customers’ expectations for our brand or that are attractive to new customers. If we are unable to anticipate customer preferences or industry changes, or if we are unable to modify our products on a timely basis or expand effectively into new product categories, we may lose customers. As of December 31, 2022, our products are available at approximately 9,232 retail stores across our direct markets. As we expand into new geographic markets, consumers in these new markets may be less compelled by our brand image and may not be willing to pay a higher price to purchase our premium performance products as compared to traditional footwear, apparel and accessories. Our operating results would also suffer if our investments and innovations do not anticipate the needs of our customers, are not appropriately timed with market opportunities or are not effectively brought to market.
We may receive negative publicity if we do not meet expectations of transparency with respect to our business practices, which could harm our brand image. Additionally, if our independent contract manufacturers or other suppliers fail to implement socially and environmentally responsible business practices or fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations or our guidelines, we may be subject to fines, penalties or litigation and our brand image could also be harmed due to negative publicity.
Our core values, which include developing high-quality products in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, as illustrated by our new sustainable shoe, Cloudprime, are an important component of our brand image, which makes our reputation sensitive to allegations of unethical or improper business practices, whether real or perceived. Parties active in promoting ethical business practices, in addition to evaluating the substance of companies’ practices, also often scrutinize companies’ transparency as to such practices and the policies and procedures they use to ensure compliance by their suppliers and other business partners. As a general matter, we do not expect to publicly disclose information that we deem competitively sensitive, except as required by law. If we do not meet the transparency standards expected by parties active in promoting ethical business practices, we may be subject to negative publicity, regardless of whether the actual labor and other business practices adhered to by us and our independent manufacturers satisfy the substantive expectations of such parties. In addition, we may fail to, or only partially, achieve our sustainability and environmental commitments, which could also result in negative publicity. Such negative publicity could be accelerated through social media channels and harm our reputation, brand image, business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
While we are conscious and strategic with our choices of our business partners and require, as part of our supply contracts, compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct and our standards, we do not control our manufacturing suppliers or their business practices. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee their compliance with our guidelines or applicable laws. A failure by our suppliers to comply with such requirements could, in turn, lead to reduced sales by us as the result of recalls or adverse consumer reactions, damage to our brand or cause us to seek alternative suppliers, which could increase our costs and result in delayed delivery of our products, product shortages or other disruptions of our operations.
In addition, certain jurisdictions in which we sell have various regulations related to manufacturing processes and the chemical content of our products, including their component parts. Monitoring compliance by our contract manufacturing and other suppliers is complex, and we are reliant on their compliance reporting in order to comply with regulations applicable to our products. We may be subject to investigations, enforcement proceedings or claims arising from our supplier’s actual or alleged noncompliance with regulations and statutes and/or to claims relating to alleged personal injury, such as California’s Proposition 65. The expectations of NGOs, consumers or any other third parties regarding socially and environmentally responsible business practices continually evolve and may be substantially more demanding than applicable legal requirements. Socially and environmentally responsible business practices are also driven in part by legal and political developments and by diverse groups active in publicizing and organizing public responses to perceived ethical shortcomings, which can quickly lead to negative publicity and boycotts. Accordingly, we cannot predict how such regulations or expectations might develop in the future and cannot be certain that our guidelines or current practices would satisfy all parties who are active in monitoring our products or other business practices worldwide. Our exposure on social media platforms may accelerate and aggravate such negative publicity and boycott risks not only related to potential non-compliance, but also related to geopolitical developments and related controversial public discussions, such as recent discussions regarding brands sourcing their products from China, which NGOs and others are requesting to boycott due to China’s handling of minorities. Also, China has previously placed pressure and obstacles on international companies who criticize Chinese politics, and may continue to do so in the future. A failure by our suppliers to comply with such requirements could, in turn, lead to reduced sales by us as the result of recalls or adverse consumer reactions, damage to our brand or cause us to seek alternative suppliers, which could increase our costs and result in delayed delivery of our products, product shortages or other disruptions of our operations.
If our grassroots marketing efforts or partnerships with other brands are not successful our business, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed. Additionally, the costs and return on our investments for our sports marketing sponsorships may become more challenging and this could impact the value of our brand image.
We rely principally on grassroots marketing efforts to advertise our brand. These efforts include working with select premium brand partners, such as our co-entrepreneur, Roger Federer, and local athletes chosen by us, who we refer to as our ambassadors. Our ambassadors assist us by introducing our brand and culture to the communities around our stores. Our grassroots marketing efforts must be tailored to each particular market, which may require substantial ongoing attention and resources. For instance, we must successfully identify suitable ambassadors in each of our new and existing markets. Our future growth and profitability and the vibrancy of our premium brand, particularly among running communities, will depend in part upon the effectiveness and efficiency of these grassroots marketing efforts. Additionally, we also partner with fashion brands on collaborative product collections. Partnering with fashion brands can also increase the risk of brand reputational damage if the brand we work with faces any negative publicity.
An element of our marketing strategy has been to create a link in the consumer market between our products and professional and Olympic athletes, such as with Roger Federer and various athletes around the world, and we face additional risks as a result. If we lose our celebrity endorsers, or if our celebrity endorsers engage in activities that damage our reputation (whether actual or perceived), our brand and our business could be adversely impacted. We have also developed sponsorship agreements with a variety of athletes. However, as competition in the footwear, apparel and accessories industry has increased, the costs associated with athlete sponsorships, including the costs of obtaining and retaining these sponsorships and agreements, have varied and at times increased greatly. If we are unable to maintain our current association with athletes, or to do so at a reasonable cost, we could lose the reputational benefit associated with such partnerships, and we may be required to modify and substantially increase our marketing investments. Moreover, a failure to continue to correctly identify promising public figures to use and endorse our products or a failure to enter into cost-effective endorsement arrangements with prominent public figures could adversely affect our brand, sales and profitability.
Because we have not historically made extensive use of traditional advertising channels, such as print or television advertisements, to build our brand, if our grassroots marketing efforts or sports marketing sponsorships are not successful, there may be no immediately available alternative marketing channel for us to build awareness of our products in a manner that will be successful. This may impair our ability to successfully integrate new stores into the surrounding communities, to expand into new markets at all or to maintain the strength or distinctiveness of our brand in our existing markets. In addition, if our grassroots marketing efforts are unsuccessful and we are required to use traditional advertising channels in our overall marketing strategy, then we will incur additional expense associated with the transition to and operation of a traditional advertising channel, and we may not have the financial or other resources needed to do so successfully. Failure to successfully market our products and brand in new and existing markets could harm our premium brand, business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
(ii) Business strategy
We may not be able to successfully implement our growth strategies on a timely basis or at all. Additionally, implementation of these plans may divert the attention of our operational, managerial and administrative resources, which could harm our competitive position and results of operations.
Our future success depends, in large part, on our ability to implement our growth strategies, including expanding our product offerings to earn more share of customers’ closets, continuing to engage in customer acquisition and retention efforts that drive long-term customer relationships and continuing to grow our business. Our ability to implement these growth strategies depends, among other things, on our ability to:
I.manage our risks associated with regard to third-party distribution and expand our product offerings;
II.increase our brand recognition by effectively implementing our multi-channel strategy alongside our network of retail relationships without compromising our premium customer experience;
III.increase customer engagement with our digital platforms;
IV.leverage our investments in our human capital and operational infrastructure to drive traffic and customer acquisition;
V.expand and diversify our wholesale channel and accelerate partnerships with digital pure play retailers; and
VI.enter into distribution and other strategic arrangements with potential distributors of our products in order to better influence customer experience with better cost efficiency.
We may not be able to successfully implement our growth strategies and may need to change them. If we fail to implement our growth strategies or if we invest resources in a growth strategy that ultimately proves unsuccessful, our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares may be materially and adversely affected.
Because our business is highly concentrated on a single, discretionary product category, namely footwear, apparel and accessories, we are vulnerable to changes in consumer preferences that could harm our sales, profitability and financial condition.
Our business is not currently diversified and consists primarily of designing and distributing footwear, apparel and accessories. In 2022, our main product category across all seasons, our footwear, was made up of over 70 styles and comprised a significant majority of our sales. Consumer preferences often change rapidly, and demand for our products is substantially dependent on our ability to attract customers who are willing to pay a higher price for our premium products. We believe there are a number of factors that may affect the demand for our products, including:
II.consumer perceptions of, and preferences for, our products and brands, including, among other things, as a result of evolving ethical or social standards;
IV.consumer acceptance of our new and existing products, including our ability to develop new products that address the needs and preferences of new consumers;
V.consumer demand for products of our competitors;
VI.publicity, including social media, related to us, our products, our brands, our marketing campaigns and our celebrity endorsers;
VII.the extent to which consumers view certain of our products as substitutes for other products we manufacture;
VIII.the life cycle of our products and consumer replenishment behavior;
IX.changes in consumer confidence and buying patterns, and other factors that impact discretionary income and spending;
X.legislation restricting our ability to use certain materials in our products;
XI.changes in general economic, political, and market conditions;
XII.pandemics or other outbreaks of illness or disease, such as the COVID-19 pandemic; and
XIII.any future shifts in consumer preferences away from retail spending for footwear, apparel and accessories would also have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
In addition, we believe that continued increases in sales of footwear, apparel and accessories will largely depend on customers continuing to demand technical superiority from their premium products. If the number of customers demanding footwear, apparel and accessories does not continue to increase, or if our customers are not convinced that our footwear, apparel and accessories are more functional, stylish or technically superior than other footwear, apparel and accessories alternatives, we may not achieve the level of sales necessary to support new growth platforms and our ability to grow our business will be severely impaired, and our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares may be adversely impacted.
Sales of footwear, apparel and accessories may not continue to increase, and this could impair our ability to innovate and grow our business.
We believe that continued increases in sales of footwear, apparel and accessories will partly depend on customers continuing to demand footwear, apparel and accessories designed for specific athletic pursuits such as running. If the number of customers demanding footwear, apparel and accessories does not continue to increase, the trend of increased focus on health and wellness or the associated growth in exercise subsides, the appeal of high-technology footwear, apparel and accessories diminishes, the style of our athletic and technical footwear, apparel and accessories falls out of fashion with customers or customers engaging in athletic pursuits are not convinced that our footwear, apparel and accessories are a better choice than available alternatives, our ability to innovate and grow our business will be severely impaired, and our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares may be adversely impacted.
We have generated net losses in the past and may incur net losses in the future.
Although we generated a net income of CHF 57.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, we generated a net loss of CHF 170.2 million and CHF 27.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. We will need to continue to generate and sustain increased net sales and net income levels in future periods in order to increase profitability, and, even if we do, we may not be able to maintain or increase our level of profitability over the long term. We intend to continue to expend significant funds to grow our business, and we may not be able to increase our net sales enough to offset our higher operating expenses. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including the other risks described in Item 3. "Risk Factors" of this Annual Report, and unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays, and other unknown events. If we are unable to achieve or sustain profitability, our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares may be adversely impacted.
Our limited operating experience and brand recognition in new markets may limit our expansion strategy and cause our business and growth to suffer.
Our future growth depends, to a considerable extent, on our efforts to expand our markets and also on our success in entering new markets throughout the world that we deem attractive. While our headquarters are in Switzerland, we sell our footwear, apparel and accessories globally. For the year ended December 31, 2022, 60.4%, 29.0% and 6.6% of our sales were to customers in North America,
Europe and Asia, respectively. We also have limited experience with regulatory environments and market practices outside of Europe and the United States, and cannot guarantee that we will be able to penetrate or successfully operate in any such markets. In connection with our expansion efforts, especially in the United States, we have encountered increased costs of operations resulting from higher customs, payroll and other expenses and from new and different business requirements generally. In connection with our continued expansion efforts throughout the world, we have encountered, and expect to continue to encounter, a number of obstacles including cultural and linguistic differences, differences in regulatory environments and market practices, difficulties in keeping abreast of market, business and technical developments and foreign customers’ tastes and preferences, as well as differences in employee expectations and working culture. We may also encounter difficulty expanding into new markets throughout the world because of limited brand recognition leading to delayed acceptance of our athletic and technical footwear, apparel and accessories by customers in these new markets. In particular, we have no assurance that our grassroots marketing efforts will prove successful outside of the geographic regions in which they have been used in Europe and the United States. The expansion into new markets may also present competitive, merchandising, forecasting and distribution challenges that are different from or more severe than those we currently face. Failure to develop new markets globally or disappointing growth outside of such markets may harm our business, results of operations, financial condition or the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
If we fail to adequately continue to connect with our consumer base, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our marketing and promotional programs, by focusing on the premium experience our products provide, are important in capturing the interest of consumers and attracting them to our products and encouraging purchases by consumers. If we fail to successfully develop and implement marketing, advertising and promotional strategies in new and existing markets, we may be unable to achieve and maintain brand awareness and consumer traffic to our sites or stores may be reduced.
We believe that much of the growth in our customer base to date has originated from our marketing strategy, including social media and other digital marketing efforts. If we are unable to cost-effectively use social media platforms as marketing tools, our ability to acquire new customers and our business and financial condition may suffer. Unauthorized or inappropriate use of our social media channels could result in harmful publicity or negative consumer experiences, which could have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of our marketing in these channels. In addition, substantial negative commentary by others on social media platforms could have an adverse impact on our ability to successfully connect with consumers. In addition, if our customers believe we have failed to live up to our stated goals (whether real or perceived), including those related to environmental, social and governance ("ESG") matters, they may use social media platforms to cause reputational damage to our brand and business. Furthermore, as laws and regulations rapidly evolve to govern the use of these platforms, the failure by us, our employees or third parties acting at our direction to comply with applicable laws and regulations could subject us to regulatory investigations, lawsuits (including class actions), liability, fines or other penalties. Moreover, if digital advertising platforms increase advertising expenses or change their policies in a manner that is inconsistent with our marketing strategy, our expenses may increase and the effectiveness of our digital advertising strategy may be diminished, and our growth may be harmed as a result. Furthermore, an increase in the use of social media platforms for product promotion and marketing may cause an increase in our burden to monitor compliance of such platforms, and increase the risk that such materials could contain problematic product or marketing claims in violation of applicable regulations. These and other risks could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our ability to attract customers to our stores and premium products depends heavily on successfully locating our stores in suitable locations and any impairment of a store location, including any decrease in customer traffic, could cause our net sales, business and results of operations to be less than expected and adversely affect our financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our approach to identifying locations for our stores and premium products typically favors street locations and lifestyle centers. As a result, our stores are typically located near retailers or fitness facilities that we believe are consistent with our customers’ lifestyle choices. Our net sales, business and results of operations at these stores are derived, in part, from the volume of foot traffic in these locations. Store locations may become unsuitable due to, and our sales volume, customer traffic and profitability generally may be harmed by, among other things:
I.economic downturns in a particular area;
II.competition from nearby retailers selling athletic apparel;
III.changing consumer demographics in a particular market;
IV.changing lifestyle choices of consumers in a particular market; and
V.the closing or decline in popularity of other businesses located near our stores, including as a result of pandemics such as COVID-19.
Changes in areas around our store locations that result in reductions in customer foot traffic or otherwise render the locations unsuitable could cause our sales, business and results of operations to be less than expected. While we currently sell our products through a limited number of stores that are owned and operated by us, we plan to open additional stores in the future. If our net sales, business and results of operations through stores owned and operated by us increase in the future, the risks described above may be exacerbated and may adversely affect our financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We rely on technical innovation, unique designs and high-quality products to compete in the market for our products. If we fail to continue to innovate and provide consumers with design features, new technologies and environmentally sustainable products that meet consumer expectations, we may not be able to generate sufficient consumer interest in our athletic and technical footwear, apparel and accessories to remain competitive.
Innovation is at the core of our business, and we must continue to invest in research and development in connection with the innovation, intellectual property and design of our footwear, apparel and accessories in order to attract and retain consumers. If we are unable to anticipate consumer preferences or industry changes, or if we are unable to modify our products on a timely basis, we may lose customers or become subject to greater pricing pressures. Our operating results would also suffer if our innovations and designs do not respond to the needs and demands of our customers, are not appropriately timed with market opportunities or are not effectively brought to market. Any failure on our part to innovate and design new products or modify existing products will harm our brand image and could result in a decrease in our net sales and an increase in our inventory levels. In addition, we may not be able to generate sufficient consumer interest in our athletic and technical apparel and accessories to remain competitive.
In particular, technical innovation, our unique designs and quality control in the design and manufacturing process of athletic and technical footwear, apparel and accessories is essential to the commercial success of our products. Research and development play a key role in technical and environmentally sustainable innovation. Over the last two years, we have systematically redesigned many of our key franchises, like the Cloud and the Cloudswift, as well as our entire apparel range. We rely upon specialists in the fields of biomechanics, chemistry, exercise physiology, engineering, digital
technologies, industrial design, sustainability and related fields, as well as research and advisory boards made up of athletes, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, orthopedists, podiatrists and other experts to develop and test our performance products. While we strive to produce products that help to enhance athletic performance and maximize comfort, consumer demand for our products could decline, if we fail to introduce technical and environmentally sustainable innovations in our products. In addition, if we experience problems with the quality of our products, we may incur substantial expense to remedy such problems and lose consumer confidence and loyalty, which could negatively impact our reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our plans to innovate and expand our product offerings may not be successful, and implementation of these plans may divert the attention of our operational, managerial and administrative resources, which could harm our competitive position and reduce our net sales and profitability.
In addition to our DTC strategy and the expansion of our geographic footprint, we plan to grow our business by innovating and expanding our product offerings. The principal risks to our ability to successfully carry out our plans to expand our product offering include:
I.if our expanded product offerings fail to maintain and enhance our distinctive brand identity and premium quality, our brand image may be diminished, and our sales may decrease;
II.our innovations, such as the subscription-based sales model introduced in June 2022 with our Cyclon footwear or potentially other product categories, may fail to be financially viable or may not be well received by our customers or the market;
III.implementation of our plans may divert management’s attention from other aspects of our business and place a strain on our management, operational and financial resources, as well as our information systems; and
IV.incorporation of novel materials or features into our footwear, apparel and accessories may not be accepted by our customers or may be considered inferior to similar products offered by our competitors.
Moreover, our ability to successfully carry out our plans to expand our product offerings may be affected by economic and competitive conditions, changes in consumer spending patterns and changes in consumer preferences and styles. These plans could be abandoned, could cost more than anticipated, could impact the quality of our products and could divert resources from other areas of our business, any of which could negatively impact our competitive position, reduce our net sales and profitability or negatively impact the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We operate in a highly competitive market and the size and resources of some of our competitors may allow them to impose pricing pressures or compete more effectively than we can, resulting in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our net sales and profitability.
The market for footwear, apparel and accessories is highly fragmented and extremely competitive. We compete directly against wholesalers and direct retailers of footwear, apparel and accessories. Because of the fragmented nature of the marketplace, we also compete with other apparel sellers, including those who do not specialize in footwear, apparel and accessories. Many of our competitors have significant competitive advantages, including longer operating histories, larger and broader customer bases, more established relationships with a broader set of suppliers, greater brand recognition and greater financial, technological and engineering resources, research and development, store development, marketing, distribution and other resources than we do. We may face intense pressure with respect to competition for key customer accounts and distribution channels. Because of the highly competitive nature of our industry, we may face increased pressure from our competitors to lower our prices for our products, which may adversely impact consumer demand for our products, our brand image, our realized margins, our net sales and our results of operations. Furthermore, we believe
that our key customers face intense competition from other department stores, sporting goods stores, retail specialty stores, and online retailers, among others, which could negatively impact the financial stability of their businesses and their ability to conduct business with us. These factors may result in a loss of our market share, a decrease in our net sales and profitability or negative impacts to our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Competitors have and will likely continue to attempt to imitate our premium products and technology and divert sales.
As our business has expanded, our competitors have imitated, and will likely continue to imitate, our premium product designs and branding, which could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares. Also, any theft, piracy or leaking, such as through industrial espionage, of our technologies, materials or trade secrets could cause harm to our brand and business. Competitors who flood the market with products seeking to imitate our products could divert sales and dilute the value of our brand. Continued sales of competing products by our competitors could harm our brand and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. While we rely on a variety of intellectual property laws and procedures to protect our competitive position, intellectual property protection has its limitations. For more information, please see “—Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property and Information Technology—If we are unable to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights for the products we develop, or if the scope of our intellectual property protection is not sufficiently broad, others may be able to develop and commercialize products substantially similar to ours, and our business may be adversely affected."
(v) Economic and market conditions
We may be adversely affected by the financial health of our retail partners and customers.
We extend credit to our retail partners based on an assessment of a customer’s financial condition, generally without requiring collateral. To assist in the scheduling of production and the shipping of our products, we offer certain customers the opportunity to place orders five to six months ahead of delivery under our futures ordering program. These advance orders may be canceled under certain conditions, and the risk of cancellation may increase when dealing with financially unstable retailers or retailers struggling with economic uncertainty. In the past, some customers have experienced financial difficulties, including bankruptcies, which have had an adverse effect on our sales, our ability to collect on receivables and our financial condition. In addition, we and our retail partners could face risks from a decline in the overall level of consumer retail spending, and a weak retail environment could impact customer traffic in the stores of our retail partners and also adversely affect our net sales. Moreover, traditional brick-and-mortar retail channels have experienced low growth or declines in recent years, including as a result of rise in online purchases and recent trends have increased permanent and temporary store closures. Recent years have also seen shifts in consumer preferences and purchasing practices, which may increase the difficulty for us to retain and grow our customer base. If and when the retail economy weakens or as consumer behavior shifts, retailers may be more cautious with orders. A slowing or changing economy in our key markets could adversely affect the financial health of our customers, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, product sales are dependent in part on high-quality merchandising and an appealing retail environment to attract consumers, which requires continuing investments by retailers. Retailers that experience financial difficulties may fail to make such investments or delay them, resulting in lower sales and orders for our products. These and other risks could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
An economic recession, depression, downturn, periods of inflation, or economic uncertainty may adversely affect consumer purchases of discretionary items, which could materially harm our sales, profitability and financial condition.
Many factors affect the level of consumer spending for discretionary items such as our footwear, apparel and accessories. These factors include general business conditions, inflation, interest and tax rates, the availability of consumer credit and consumer confidence in future economic conditions.
Consumer purchases of discretionary items, such as our premium footwear, apparel and accessories, tend to decline during recessionary periods when disposable income is lower, and during such periods consumers may tend to choose less costly products and turn away from our premium products. Recent geopolitical events and general economic conditions, such as rising inflation, has led to a slow-down in certain segments of the global economy and affected the amount of discretionary income available for certain consumers to purchase our products. Any downturn in the economy in markets in which we sell our products may materially harm our sales, business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
The COVID-19 pandemic and related government, private sector, and individual consumer responses have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect our business operations, the operations of our suppliers and other business partners, store traffic, employee availability, and our financial condition, liquidity and cash flow.
We have been in the past adversely impacted by business disruptions related to COVID-19, including disruptions to sourcing, our supply chain, our manufacturing facilities and our distribution facilities. For example, in 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic caused operations in certain of our suppliers’ facilities to be disrupted or temporarily suspended, certain of our warehouses to experience disruptions or operate at reduced capacity, and further caused us to delay our plans to expand our footwear supplier base beyond Vietnam. In addition, in the fall of 2021 a surge of COVID-19 cases in certain countries, such as Vietnam where all of our footwear was produced in 2021 and a number of our suppliers’ manufacturing facilities are located, resulted in mandatory closures of such facilities at such time, as well as significant impediments to local freight operations due to restrictive measures introduced by the Vietnamese government and, as a result, disruptions to our supply chain and business operations. Although additional production capacity was secured in 2022 with new factory partners in Indonesia, additional restrictions could arise in the future and could further impact any worker and capacity shortage, global freight disruptions and cost inflation. These types of disruptions can continue to adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also negatively impacted many of our business partners, such as the retail stores and distributors that sell our products, and are likely to continue to adversely impact some or all of such partners for the foreseeable future. Any of the foregoing could lead to their or our financial distress or bankruptcy. Moreover, the negative implications of COVID-19, including from responses to the pandemic, may not be predictable and may negatively impact our business and operations, including in ways that we do not currently anticipate. For example, certain unemployment programs instituted by governments caused our operations to experience a workforce shortage and increased costs, and other unpredictable results of COVID-19 may cause adverse changes to our business, financial condition, results of operation and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
The spread of COVID-19 and its various mutations of the virus (e.g. Delta, Omicron and other variants) has caused public health officials to impose restrictions and recommend precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially avoiding congregating in heavily populated areas, such as malls and fitness centers, in which our owned and operated stores and retail outlets are located. Such measures include restrictions such as limitations on the number of guests allowed in our stores at any single time, minimum physical distancing requirements and limited operating hours. Even though most COVID-19 related measures have been lifted in our main markets, we do not know whether new measures will be recommended by local authorities or will need to implemented by us in the future,
including if there are future COVID-19 resurgences. In such a case, there is significant uncertainty regarding what the results of operations of our stores would be.
Further resurgences in COVID-19 cases could cause additional restrictions, including the closure of all or some of our or our retailers’ stores again. There is continued uncertainty over the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S., Swiss, and global economies, consumer willingness to visit stores, malls, and fitness centers and employee willingness to staff stores. There is also continued uncertainty regarding potential long-term changes to consumer shopping behavior and preferences and whether consumer demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels.
There is a wide range of possible outcomes regarding the nature and timing of events related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Developments, including the ultimate geographic spread and duration of the pandemic, the extent and duration of a resurgence, if any, new information concerning the severity of the COVID-19 virus, the effectiveness and intensity of measures to contain the COVID-19 virus and its various mutations (e.g. Delta, Omicron and other variants), the availability and effectiveness of vaccines for the COVID-19 virus and its various mutations (e.g. Delta, Omicron and other variants) and the economic impact of the pandemic and the reactions to it, could have a significant adverse effect on our business, cash flows from operations, operating expenses (e.g. higher transportation costs due to more air than sea freight) and our liquidity. The extent of these developments and the related impacts are highly uncertain, and many are outside our control. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic could increase the magnitude of many of the other risks described in "Item 3. Risk Factors" of this Annual Report and may have other material adverse effects on our operations that we are not currently able to predict. If our business and the markets in which we operate experience a prolonged occurrence of adverse public health conditions, such as COVID-19, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
II. Risks Related to Our Operations, Distribution Network and Suppliers
(i) Business operations
We have grown rapidly in recent years and we have limited operating experience at our current scale of operations. If we are unable to manage our operations at our current size or to manage any future growth effectively, our brand image and financial performance may suffer.
We have expanded our operations rapidly since our inception in 2010 and have limited operating experience at our current scale of operations. Our products were first carried by wholesale partners in Switzerland in 2010 and in the U.S. in 2013. The first two retail stores owned and operated by On both opened in December 2019 and January 2020 in China, followed by our first larger location in New York City in December 2020. We have experienced substantial growth in our net sales from our inception through 2022.
Our substantial growth to date has placed a significant strain on our management systems and resources. If our operations continue to grow, of which there can be no assurance, we will be required to continue to expand our sales and marketing, product development and distribution functions, to upgrade our management information systems and other processes, and to obtain more space for our expanding administrative support and other headquarters personnel. Moreover, our new innovations may require either new or different infrastructure, relationships or processes. Our continued growth could increase the strain on our resources, and we could experience serious operating difficulties, including difficulties in hiring, training and managing an increasing number of employees, difficulties in obtaining sufficient supplies, raw materials and manufacturing capacity to produce our products, and delays in production and shipments. These difficulties would likely result in the erosion of our brand image and lead to a decrease in net sales, income from operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our growth strategy involves the continued expansion of our DTC channel, including our own retail stores and e-commerce platform, which may present risks and challenges with which we have limited experience.
Our business involves distributing products on a wholesale basis for resale through our retail partners and also includes a multi-channel experience, including physical and online retail stores that are owned and operated by us. Growing our e-commerce platforms and the number of physical stores owned by us is essential to our growth strategy, as is innovating and expanding our product offerings available through these channels. However, we have limited operating experience executing this strategy, given the first retail store owned and operated by us opened only in late 2019 in China, followed by our first larger location in New York City in December 2020. Sales in our DTC channel continue to grow, which may expose us to other risks, including those relating to continuing to grow brand awareness. This strategy has, and will continue to require significant investment in cross-functional operations and management focus, along with investment in supporting technologies and retail store spaces. If we are unable to provide a convenient and consistent experience for our customers, our ability to compete and our results of operations could be adversely affected. In addition, if our e-commerce platform design does not appeal to our customers, function reliably and conveniently, or maintain the privacy and security of customer data, or if we are unable to consistently meet our brand promise to our customers, we may experience a loss of customer confidence or sales, including as a result of losing repeat customers, or be exposed to fraudulent purchases, cyber-attacks or other issues which could adversely affect our reputation and results of operations.
As of December 31, 2022, we currently operate our e-commerce digital platforms in over 60 countries, which are serviced by our wholesale channel as well, and we are planning to expand our e-commerce platform to other geographies. Existing and additional countries may impose different and evolving laws governing the operation and marketing of e-commerce websites, as well as the collection, storage and use of information on consumers interacting with those websites. We may incur additional costs and operational challenges in complying with these laws, and differences in these laws may cause us to operate our businesses differently in different territories. If so, we may incur additional costs and may not realize benefits from our investment in our international expansion. We are also exposed to the risk of fraudulent domains or websites pretending to sell our products, when they are in reality phishing sites or imitator domains, and we might be unable to stop those sites from operating in due time, or permanently due to regulatory or factual constraints.
Our business or our results of operations could be harmed if we or our wholesale partners are unable to accurately forecast demand for our products or if we are unsuccessful at managing product manufacturing decisions.
To ensure adequate inventory supply, we and our wholesale partners forecast inventory needs, which are subject to seasonal and quarterly variations, and are also subject to variation as a result of broader economic and social trends. Like our competitors, we have an extended design, development, manufacturing and logistics process, which involves the initial design and development of our products, the purchase of raw materials, the accumulation and subsequent sale of inventories, and the collection of the resulting accounts receivable. This production cycle requires us to incur significant expenses relating to the design, development, manufacturing, distributing and marketing of our products, including product development costs for new products, in advance of the realization of any net sales from the sale of our products, and results in significant liquidity requirements and working capital fluctuations throughout our fiscal year. Because the production cycle typically involves long lead times, which requires us to make manufacturing decisions several months in advance of an anticipated purchasing decision by the consumer, it is challenging for us to estimate and manage our inventory and working capital requirements, and as such challenges have been, and could in the future be, exacerbated by global supply chain issues. If we fail to accurately forecast demand or our inventory and working capital requirements, we may experience excess inventory levels or a shortage of product to deliver to our wholesale partners and through our DTC channels. In addition, we or our wholesale partners may fail to accurately forecast the demand for our products and may purchase an insufficient amount of our
products or may accumulate excess inventory, increase operational complexity and lower cost efficiency, or increase operational costs. Moreover, a potential increase of inventory stock level resulting from fluctuating supply/demand/logistics lead time and capacity may increase our operational costs such as rental costs, and may increase our cost of goods sold and decrease profit margin, if additional freight charges, including demurrage and detention costs, are incurred, and can negatively impact our business, brand and results of operations.
If we underestimate the demand for our products, we may not be able to produce products to meet our wholesale partner requirements, and this could result in delays in the shipment of our products and our failure to satisfy demand, as well as damage to our reputation and wholesale partner relationships. If our wholesale partners underestimate the demand for our products, they may not have enough products on hand to satisfy demand in a timely fashion and sales opportunities may be lost. If we or our retail partners overestimate the demand for our products, we or our wholesale partners could face inventory levels in excess of demand, which could result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, which would harm our gross margins and our brand management efforts. In addition, these and other factors, including failures to accurately predict the level of demand for our products, could cause a decline in net sales and harm our business, operating results, financial condition, cash flows and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We may not be able to successfully open new retail stores owned and operated by us in a timely manner, if at all, which could harm our results of operations.
Our growth will depend in part on our ability to successfully open and operate new retail stores owned and operated by us or convince third-parties to operate those stores and sell our premium products on our behalf. Our ability to successfully open and operate new retail stores depends on many factors, including, among others, our ability to:
•identify suitable store locations, the availability of which is outside of our control;
•negotiate acceptable lease terms, including desired tenant improvement allowances;
•hire, train and retain store personnel and field management;
•assimilate new store personnel and field management into our corporate culture and spirits;
•source sufficient inventory levels; and
•successfully integrate new retail stores owned and operated by us into our existing operations and information technology systems.
Successful new store openings may also be affected by our ability to initiate our grassroots marketing efforts to identify new and suitable markets for the opening of a potential new retail store. We typically rely on our grassroots marketing efforts to build awareness of our brand and demand for our products. Our grassroots marketing efforts are often lengthy and must be tailored to each new market based on our emerging understanding of the market. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully implement our grassroots marketing efforts in a particular market in a timely manner, if at all. Additionally, we may be unsuccessful in identifying new markets where our footwear, apparel and accessories and other products and brand image will be accepted or the performance of our retail stores owned and operated by us will be considered successful. Furthermore, we will encounter pre-operating costs and we may encounter initial losses while new stores commence operations.
We have opened four retail stores owned and operated by us to date, namely New York City (opened December 2020), Tokyo (March 2022), Zurich (July 2020) and Los Angeles (October 2022), and we also own and operate a number of mall-based stores in China. We plan to open other stores owned and operated by us in the future. We expect that we will incur additional capital expenditures to open additional stores owned and operated by us in the future, which may be significant. We have limited experience opening our own stores, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to open additional stores successfully. In addition, new retail stores owned and operated by us will not be immediately profitable, and will cause losses until these stores become profitable and such stores have required, and will continue to require, substantial fixed investment in equipment and leasehold
improvements and personnel, and we have entered into substantial operating lease commitments for retail space. There can be no assurance that we will open our planned number of new stores in 2023 or thereafter, or that our estimates regarding the associated costs will be accurate. Any failure to successfully open and operate new stores owned an operated by us would harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We are subject to risks associated with leasing retail and distribution, office and warehouse spaces subject to long-term and non-cancelable leases.
We lease all of our stores under operating leases and our inability to secure appropriate real estate or lease terms could impact our ability to grow.
Our leases generally have initial terms of between five and ten years, and generally can be extended in five-year increments, if at all. We generally cannot unilaterally terminate these leases at an earlier time. If an existing or new store owned and operated by us is not profitable, and we decide to close it, we may nonetheless be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable lease including, among other things, paying rent for the balance of the lease term.
Similarly, we may be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable leases even if current locations of our retail stores become unattractive as demographic patterns change, or if we have to close retail stores due to governmental orders, for example in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. If the current remote working trends that have arisen since the COVID-19 pandemic continue to exist in the future, we may be committed to perform our obligations under our leases for office space and distribution locations that we do not need, which may adversely affect our financial condition. Moreover, as our operations expand, we may be unable to find additional office space to accommodate our needs. In addition, as each of our leases expire, we may fail to negotiate renewals, either on commercially acceptable terms or at all, which could require us to close retail stores owned and operated by us in desirable locations. We also lease all of our distribution centers and our inability to secure appropriate real estate or lease terms could impact our ability to deliver our products to the market.
(ii) Supply-chain and distribution
We have in the past and could in the future experience significant disruptions in supply from our current or future sources.
We have agreements with our suppliers that are on a purchase order basis and typically rely on inventory forecasts to help determine our quantities for purchase orders. We are highly dependent upon our suppliers, several of them being the sole source for certain components of our footwear, apparel and accessories and certain of our suppliers are concentrated in a single country. We have experienced significant disruptions as a result of ongoing global supply chain issues and there can be no assurance that there will not be a further disruption in the supply of fabrics, other subcomponents or raw materials from current sources or, in the event of a disruption, that we would be able to locate alternative suppliers of materials of comparable quality or an acceptable price, or at all. Identifying a suitable supplier is a resource-intensive process that requires us to become satisfied with their quality control, responsiveness and service, financial stability and labor and other ethical practices. In addition, any indirect supply chain disruptions due to the recent military conflict in Ukraine, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade restrictions, political instability, severe weather and natural disasters, war, labor shortages, reduced freight availability and increased costs, port disruptions and other factors may further complicate existing supply chain constraints. Interruption of supplies from any of the Company’s suppliers, or the loss of one or more key suppliers, could have a negative effect on the Company’s business and operating results.
Any delays, interruption or increased costs in the supply of fabric, raw materials or other subcomponents or manufacture of our products have in the past and could in the future have an adverse effect on our ability to meet customer demand for our products and result in lower net sales and operating income both in the short and long term, which could in turn negatively impact our business, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Problems with our distribution system, including our partners’ ability to scale warehouse and factory operations, could harm our ability to meet customer expectations, manage inventory, complete sales and achieve objectives for operating efficiencies.
We rely on distribution facilities in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, all of which are operated by third-party vendors, for substantially all of our product distribution. Our contracts for these facilities expire at various times, and we may be unable to successfully renegotiate such agreements on terms attractive to us. In addition, we may be unable to terminate such contracts at our convenience. There can be no assurance that we will be able to enter into other contracts for distribution centers on acceptable terms, which could disrupt our operations. Our distribution facilities include computer controlled and automated equipment, and their operations are complicated and may be subject to a number of risks related to security or computer viruses, the proper operation of software and hardware, electronic or power interruptions or other system failures. In addition, because substantially all of our products are distributed from these distribution centers, our operations could also be interrupted by labor difficulties, or by floods, fires or other natural disasters or force majeure events. For instance, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 some of our distribution centers and wholesale channel customers experienced temporary closures, and certain of our warehouses experienced a shortage of labor and increased labor costs as a result of the financial incentives provided by the government in response to COVID-19, which encouraged employees to forgo their employment opportunities with us.
Additionally, our potential, anticipated growth will require further investments into our supply chain and operations capabilities, including but not limited to new warehouses or other facilities. For instance, in the third quarter of 2022 we entered into third party logistics and warehouse services agreement for a new, highly-automated fulfillment center in Atlanta (USA) to facilitate our future omnichannel growth in North America and lower our handling cost over time through automation. If our partner's ability to scale warehouse operations and automation is unsuccessful or if the warehouse automation does not provide the anticipated benefits or it does not meet market demands, our financial condition and results of operations can be adversely impacted.
In addition, the property damage, business interruption and other insurance policies held by us may not adequately protect us from the adverse effects that could result from significant disruptions to our business and distribution system, such as the long-term loss of customers or an erosion of our brand image. In addition, our distribution capacity is dependent on the timely performance of services by third parties, including the uninterrupted operation of our warehouses as well as the shipment of our products to and from our distribution facilities around the globe, including in Europe, Asia and the United States. If we encounter problems with our distribution system, our ability to meet customer expectations, manage inventory, complete sales, achieve objectives for operating efficiencies and the price of our Class A ordinary shares could be harmed.
Fluctuations in the cost of raw materials and commodities we use in our products and our supply chain, including as a result of inflation, could negatively affect our operating results.
The fabrics and other subcomponents used by our suppliers and manufacturers are made of raw materials, including virgin and recycled petrol-based and bio-based polyester, polyamide and ethylene vinyl acetate, rubber and organic cotton. Significant raw material price fluctuations, such as oil prices, including as a result of inflation, or shortages in such raw materials could adversely impact our cost of goods sold. We are also subject to risks from price fluctuations due to our storage capacity restrictions at our warehouses for the raw materials that our suppliers and manufacturers use for production. Furthermore, we and our manufacturers compete with other companies and industries for raw materials used in our products. In the event of heightened competition for such materials, we or our manufacturers might not be able to locate alternative suppliers of materials of comparable quality at an acceptable price or at all. In addition, all our manufacturers are subject to government regulations related to wage rates, and therefore the labor costs to produce our products may fluctuate. The cost of transporting our
products for distribution and sale is also subject to fluctuation due in large part to the price of oil, but such costs are also subject to geopolitical and climate change impacts that may disrupt our global supply chains, including from geopolitical conditions such as international conflicts, such as the military conflict in Ukraine, and resulting sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries. Because most of our products are manufactured abroad, our products must be transported by third parties over large geographical distances and an increase in the price of oil can significantly increase costs.
Manufacturing delays or unexpected transportation delays can also cause us to rely more heavily on airfreight to achieve timely delivery to our customers, which significantly increases freight costs and impacts our carbon-dioxide reduction targets negatively. Price fluctuations, raw material inventory capacity restrictions and extended lead times in our supply chains reduce our ability to react to variances in our inventory forecasts and limit our operational flexibility. Our goal to reduce the carbon dioxide-footprint of our company may cause us to forgo airfreight transport completely, or may result in increased freight and transportation costs. In addition, any disruptions or reductions of our shipments made through airfreight may increase shipment times. Any of these fluctuations may increase our cost of products and have an adverse effect on our profit margins, business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
(iii) Third-party partners and suppliers
Our financial success may be impacted by the strength of our relationships with our retail partners and is dependent on the success of these retail partners.
Our financial success is dependent on our retail partners continuing to carry our products and the success of these partners. A substantial amount of our sales are made through our retail partners, either directly or indirectly, who may decide to emphasize products from our competitors, to redeploy their retail floor space to other product categories, or to take other actions that reduce or discontinue their purchases of our products. We do not have long-term contracts with any of our retail partners, and sales to our retail partners are generally on an order-by-order basis and are subject to rights of cancellation and rescheduling by the partner. If we cannot fill our retail partners’ orders in a timely manner, the sales of our products and our relationships with those partners may suffer, and this could have a material adverse effect on our ability to grow our product lines and our results of operations.
Although we believe that our business relationships with our retail partners are satisfactory, we cannot assure you that these business relationships will continue to generate satisfactory sales in the future. If any of our major retail partners experiences a significant downturn in their business or fails to remain committed to our products or brand, then these partners may reduce or discontinue purchases from us, which could adversely impact our business.
Many of our retail partners compete with each other, and if they perceive that we are offering their competitors better pricing and support, they may reduce or discontinue purchases of our products. In addition, we compete directly with our retail partners by selling our products to consumers through our DTC channel. If our retail partners believe that our DTC channel diverts sales from their stores, this may weaken our relationships with our partners and cause them to reduce or discontinue purchases of our products. In addition, if we fail to accurately identify the needs of our partners, our partners fail to accept new products or product line expansions or attribute premium value to our new or existing products or product line expansions relative to competing products or if we fail to obtain shelf space from our retail partners (whether by our competitors introducing new products or otherwise), our sales, business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely impacted.
The operations of many of our suppliers and third-party manufacturers are subject to additional risks that are beyond our control and that could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Almost all of our manufacturing partners and raw material suppliers are located outside the United States. In addition, we work with selected third-party distributors, especially in the initial stages of expansion for highly complicated products and in new markets, and because we ultimately do not control those third parties, we are subject to additional risks as a result of such relationships. In 2022, 95% of our footwear products were produced in Vietnam and 5% of our footwear products were produced in Indonesia.
Moreover, in 2022 approximately 60% of our apparel and accessories units produced were manufactured in Vietnam, 23% in China, 7% in Slovenia and 10% in Germany. All of our products are manufactured by third party manufacturers. As a result of our international suppliers, we are subject to risks associated with doing business in multiple jurisdictions, including:
•political unrest, international or other conflicts, terrorism, labor disputes and economic instability resulting in the disruption of trade from foreign countries in which our products are manufactured;
•consumer boycotts due to ethical, environmental or political issues in certain countries we do business with, such as for example, human rights and labor concerns in Asia, or product-related environmental concerns;
•compliance with existing and new laws and regulations, including those relating to labor conditions and workplace safety, environmental protection, chemical regulation, quality and safety standards, imports, duties, taxes and other charges on imports, as well as trade restrictions and restrictions on currency exchange or the transfer of funds;
•reduced protection for intellectual property rights, including patent and trademark protection, in some countries;
•disruptions or delays in shipments, global container and capacity shortages, or port congestion such as the accident in the Suez Canal in 2021 that disrupted container shipments and supply chains globally; and
•changes in local economic conditions in countries where our manufacturers, suppliers or customers are located.
We also face risks from potential employment shortages for our supply operations as potential employees in certain geographies, including Vietnam, China and Indonesia, pursue opportunities outside of our and our suppliers’ industries. Any potential employment shortages may increase costs for our supplier and manufacturing partners and may limit our ability to scale our warehouse and factory operations efficiently. Increased costs in production may limit our profitability and may adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
These and other factors beyond our control could interrupt our suppliers’ production in offshore facilities, influence the ability of our suppliers to export our products cost-effectively or at all and inhibit our suppliers’ ability to procure certain materials, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We rely on third-party suppliers to provide fabrics and other subcomponents for and to produce our footwear, apparel and accessories, and we have limited control over them and may not be able to obtain quality products on a timely basis or in sufficient quantity.
We do not manufacture our products or the raw materials used in our products and rely instead on third-party suppliers and contract manufacturers. Many of the specialty fabrics used in our products are technically advanced textile products developed by third parties and may be available from only one or a very limited number of sources. For example, our engineered warp knitting textiles, which are included in many of our products, are supplied to the manufacturers we use by a few major producers in Vietnam. In 2022, all of our products were produced by less than 20 manufacturing suppliers. In addition, in 2022, the majority of our footwear products were manufactured in Vietnam, and some of our
apparel styles were purchased from only a single manufacturer. These factors increase the risk of supply disruption and cost inflation, and our efforts to expand our supplier base may fail or be delayed.
If we experience significant increased demand, or need to replace an existing manufacturer, there can be no assurance that additional supplies of fabrics, other subcomponents or raw materials or additional manufacturing capacity will be available when required on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, or that any supplier or manufacturer would allocate sufficient capacity to us in order to meet our requirements or fill our orders in a timely manner or at all. We allocate production orders among our suppliers based on the contractor’s capability, capacity and cost, but there is no assurance that we will be able to do so efficiently and effectively or that we will be able to utilize capable contractors that have capacity at reasonable costs. Even if we are able to expand existing, or find new, manufacturing or fabric and other subcomponent sources, we may encounter delays in production and added costs as a result of the time it takes to train our suppliers and manufacturers in our methods, products and quality control standards. Delays related to supplier changes could also arise due to an increase in shipping times if new suppliers are located farther away from our markets or from other participants in our supply chain. Any delays, interruption or increased costs in the supply of fabric and other subcomponents or manufacturing of our products could have an adverse effect on our ability to meet customer demand for our products and could result in lower net sales and income from operations, both in the short and long term.
In addition, there can be no assurance that our suppliers and manufacturers will continue to provide fabrics, other subcomponents and raw materials or manufacture products that are consistent with our standards. We have occasionally received, and may in the future continue to receive, shipments of products that fail to conform to our quality control standards. In such event, unless we are able to obtain replacement products in a timely manner, we risk the loss of net sales resulting from the inability to sell those products and related increased administrative and shipping costs. Further, as we continue our journey to eliminate petroleum-based materials, there is an increased use of recycled materials and other innovative new and sustainable materials. For example, our 100% recyclable Cyclon shoe is made with over 50% bio-based material derived from castor beans. The use of innovative and sustainable materials without a long history of manufacture by our third-party suppliers increases the risk of higher manufacturing costs or that products that are manufactured may not be consistent with our standards.
We may fail to find suitable partners to expand outside the United States and the EU and this may cause our growth strategy to suffer and may harm our net sales and results of operations.
As part of our growth strategy, we plan to expand our distribution network and sales of our products into new locations outside of the United States and the EU. Our successful expansion and operation of new stores outside the United States and the EU will depend on our ability to find suitable partners and to successfully implement and manage joint relationships. In 2022, we had distribution agreements with 23 partners distributing to 72 markets. Failure to find sufficient or capable partners in a particular geographic regions may delay the rollout of our products in that area. If we are unable to find suitable partners through distribution relationships, our growth strategy will suffer and our net sales, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares could be harmed.
(iv) Human capital
Our success is substantially dependent on the continued service of our senior management and broader leadership team.
Our success is substantially dependent on the continued service of our senior management, including the extended founder team, our board of directors and broader leadership team. The loss of the services of key individuals of our senior management, board of directors and broader leadership team could make it more difficult to successfully operate our business and achieve our business goals. We also may be unable to retain existing management, technical, sales and client support personnel that are critical to our success, which could harm our customer and employee relationships, result in loss of key information, expertise or know-how or cause us to incur unanticipated recruitment, training and
other costs, which could in turn harm our business, operating results, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Laws and regulations on executive compensation, including legislation in our home country, Switzerland, may restrict our ability to attract, motivate and retain the required level of qualified personnel. In Switzerland, legislation affecting public companies is in force that, among other things, (i) imposes an annual binding shareholders’ “say on pay” vote with respect to the compensation of our executive committee and board of directors, (ii) generally prohibits severance, advances, transaction premiums and similar payments to members of our executive committee and board of directors, and (iii) requires companies to specify certain compensation-related matters in their articles of association, thus requiring them to be approved by a shareholders’ vote.
We have not obtained key person life insurance policies on any members of our senior management and broader leadership teams. As a result, we would not be protected against the associated financial loss if we were to lose the services of members of our senior management and broader leadership teams.
If we are unable to attract, assimilate and retain employees, we may not be able to grow or successfully operate our business.
Our success has largely been the result of significant contributions by our employees, including members of our current senior management, broader leadership and product design teams. However, to be successful in continuing to grow our business, we will need to continue to attract, assimilate, retain and motivate highly talented individuals with a diverse range of skills and experience. Certain geographies in which we operate, including the United States, have experienced historically strong labor markets, which complicates our efforts to attract and retain new employees, and may also cause us to fail to retain existing employees. Competition for employees in our industry is intense and we have from time-to-time experienced difficulty in attracting the personnel necessary to support the growth of our business, and we may experience similar difficulties in the future. Moreover, we have experienced challenges obtaining work permits for potential employees, including in Switzerland and the EU, which may continue to pose challenges. These problems could be further exacerbated as we embark on our strategy of significantly expanding our business in the United States and elsewhere over the next few years. In addition, if we fail to mitigate labor disputes, fail to properly hire and dismiss employees as needed or fail to comply with labor laws, which differ by location and jurisdiction and are rapidly changing, our risk of litigation may increase, which would cause us to incur additional costs. If we are unable to attract, assimilate and retain additional employees with the necessary skills, we may not be able to grow or successfully operate our business, and our business, results of operation, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares might be may be adversely impacted.
(v) International and political matters
Our international operations involve inherent risks which could result in harm to our business.
All of our premium footwear, apparel and accessories are manufactured outside of the United States, and a significant amount of our products are sold outside of the United States. Accordingly, we are subject to the risks generally associated with global trade and doing business abroad, which include foreign laws and regulations, varying consumer preferences across geographic regions, political unrest, disruptions or delays in cross-border shipments and changes in economic conditions in countries in which our products are manufactured or where we sell products. This includes, for example, new and proposed changes affecting tax laws and trade policy in the United States and elsewhere, as further described below under “—Risks Related to Our Financial, Accounting and Tax Matters—We could be subject to changes in tax laws, tax regulations and tax treaties, including their interpretation and application, in Switzerland, the United States or any other country in which we operate, which could result in additional tax liabilities or increased volatility in our effective tax rate” and “—Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Compliance—Changes to trade policies, tariffs and import/export regulations in the United States, EU and other jurisdictions, or our failure to comply with such regulations, may have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.” There
could be legislative actions limiting outsourcing manufacturing and production activities to foreign jurisdictions, including through tariffs or penalties on goods manufactured outside the United States, which may require us to change the way we conduct business and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
In addition, disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorist acts and political or military conflict have increased the risks of doing business abroad. These factors, among others, could affect, among other things, our ability to manufacture products or procure materials, our ability to import products, our ability to sell products in international markets and our cost of doing business. If any of these or other factors make the conduct of business in a particular country undesirable or impractical, our business and financial results could be adversely affected. In addition, many of our imported products are subject to duties, tariffs or quotas that affect the cost and quantity of various types of goods imported into the United States and other countries. Any country in which our products are produced or sold may eliminate, adjust or impose new quotas, duties, tariffs, safeguard measures, anti-dumping duties, cargo restrictions to prevent terrorism, restrictions on the transfer of currency, climate change legislation, product safety regulations or other charges or restrictions, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Furthermore, we are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as the anti-corruption laws of other countries in which we operate. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to promote compliance with these laws, our employees, contractors and agents, including our partners, suppliers and companies to which we outsource certain of our business operations, may take actions in violation of our policies or such laws. Any such violation could result in sanctions or other penalties and have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We distribute our products to customers directly from the factory and through distribution centers located throughout the world. Our ability to meet customer expectations, manage inventory, complete sales and achieve objectives for operating efficiencies and growth, depends on the proper operation of our distribution facilities, the development or expansion of additional distribution capabilities and the timely performance of services by third parties, including those involved in shipping product to and from our distribution facilities. In addition, our property damage, business interruption and other insurance policies may not adequately protect us from adverse effects caused by significant disruptions to our distribution facilities. Any negative impacts to our distribution facilities could result in an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Political uncertainty or geopolitical tensions could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.
As a prominent Swiss brand, geopolitical events that involve Switzerland may have an impact on our business and share price. In addition, our brand and Swiss heritage may be detrimental to the company in the context of geopolitical disputes aimed at Switzerland or actors or situations with significant actual or perceived connection to Switzerland. We sell a significant portion of our products to customers outside of Switzerland and changes, potential changes or uncertainties in regulatory and economic conditions or laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, and development and investment in the territories and countries where we operate, could adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
The February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military has significantly amplified existing geopolitical tensions among Russia, Ukraine, Europe, the West, China and other countries. We cannot predict how the war in Ukraine will evolve, but any escalation or expansion of the conflict into other countries, particularly in Europe, would exacerbate geopolitical tensions and could lead to political and/or economic response from the U.S., the EU and other countries, which may adversely impact economic conditions. In particular, Russia’s military incursion and the resulting sanctions could also adversely affect global energy and financial markets and thus could adversely impact our operations and the price
of our Class A ordinary shares. The extent and duration of the military action, the response thereto, including resulting sanctions, and resulting future market disruptions, are impossible to predict, but could be significant. Additionally, any such disruptions, resulting sanctions or other actions (including cyberattacks) may magnify the impact of other risks factors discussed in this Annual Report.
(vi) Climate and other environmental matters
Climate change and environmental risks such as extreme weather conditions and natural disasters could negatively impact our operations, operating results and financial condition. Additionally, the operations of many of our suppliers and third-party manufacturers, warehouses or distribution centers are subject to additional environmental risks that are beyond our control and that could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Shifts in weather patterns or extreme weather conditions, including as a result of climate change, in the areas in which our retail stores, employees, suppliers, manufacturers, customers, warehouses or distribution centers, headquarters and vendors are located could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition. Moreover, natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, whether occurring in Switzerland, the United States or elsewhere, and their related consequences and effects, including energy shortages and public health issues, have in the past temporarily disrupted, and could in the future disrupt, our operations, the operations of our vendors, manufacturers, warehouses or distribution centers and other suppliers or have in the past resulted in and could in the future result in economic instability (without adequate or any recourse on insurance coverage) that may negatively impact our operating results and financial condition. In particular, if a natural disaster were to occur in an area in which we or our suppliers, manufacturers, customers, warehouses or distribution centers and vendors are located, our continued success would depend, in part, on the safety and availability of the relevant personnel and facilities and proper functioning of our or third parties’ computer, telecommunication and other systems and operations. In addition, a severe weather event could have an adverse impact on consumer spending, which could in turn result in a decrease in sales of our products. In addition, the physical changes prompted by climate change could result in changes in regulations or consumer preferences, which could in turn affect our business, operating results and financial condition. For example, there has been increased focus by governmental and non-governmental organizations, consumers, customers, employees and other stakeholders on products that are sustainably made and other sustainability matters, including responsible sourcing and deforestation, the use of plastic, energy and water, the recyclability or recoverability of packaging and materials transparency, any of which may require us to incur increased costs for additional transparency, due diligence and reporting. In addition, governmental authorities in various countries have proposed, and are likely to continue to propose, legislative and regulatory initiatives to reduce or mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment. Various countries and regions are following different approaches to the regulation of climate change, which could increase the complexity of, and potential cost related to complying with, such regulations. Further, if we are unable to find alternative suppliers, replace capacity at key manufacturing or distribution locations or quickly repair damage to our IT systems or supply systems, we could be late in delivering, or be unable to deliver at all, products to our customers. These events could result in reputational damage, lost sales, cancellation charges or markdowns, all of which could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
All of our products are manufactured by third-party manufacturers. While we are conscious and strategic with our choices of our business partners and require, as part of our supply contracts, compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct and our standards, we do not control our manufacturing suppliers or their business practices. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee their compliance with our guidelines (e.g. emissions, wastewater, or harmful chemical management) or applicable laws. A failure by our suppliers to comply with such requirements could, in turn, lead to fines, penalties or litigation, reduced sales by us as a result of recalls or adverse consumer reactions, and damage to our brand and reputation or cause us to seek alternative suppliers, which could increase our costs and result in delayed delivery of our products, product shortages or other disruptions of our operations.
Although we have announced sustainability-related goals and targets, there can be no assurance that our stakeholders will agree with our strategies, and any perception, whether or not valid,
that we have failed to achieve, or to act responsibly with respect to, such matters or to effectively respond to new or additional legal or regulatory requirements regarding climate change, could result in adverse publicity and adversely affect our business and reputation. Execution of these strategies and achievement of our goals is subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to execute our strategies and achieve our goals within the currently projected costs and the expected timeframes; the availability and cost of raw materials and renewable energy; unforeseen production, design, operational and technological difficulties; the outcome of research efforts and future technology developments, including the ability to scale projects and technologies on a commercially competitive basis such as carbon sequestration and/or other related processes; compliance with, and changes or additions to, global and regional regulations, taxes, charges, mandates or requirements relating to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon costs or climate-related goals; adapting products to customer preferences and customer acceptance of sustainable supply chain solutions; and the actions of competitors and competitive pressures. As a result, there is no assurance that we will be able to successfully execute our strategies and achieve our sustainability-related goals, which could damage our reputation and customer and other stakeholder relationships and have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We have committed to CO2 reduction targets that are approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). If we are unable to achieve the CO2 reduction targets that we have committed to achieve, we will face reputational harm, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Increased scrutiny from investors and others regarding our environmental, social, governance, or sustainability responsibilities could result in additional costs or risks and adversely impact our reputation, employee retention, and willingness of customers and suppliers to do business with us.
Investor advocacy groups, certain institutional investors, investment funds, other market participants, stockholders, current and prospective employees, and customers have focused increasingly on the ESG or "sustainability" practices of companies, including those associated with climate change. These parties have placed increased importance on the implications of the social cost of their investments. If our ESG practices do not meet investor or other industry stakeholder expectations and standards, which continue to evolve, our brand, reputation and employee retention may be negatively impacted based on an assessment of our ESG practices. It is possible that stakeholders may not be satisfied with our ESG practices or the speed of their adoption. We could also incur additional costs and require additional resources to monitor, report, and comply with various ESG practices. Further, our failure, or perceived failure, to meet the standards included in any sustainability disclosure could negatively impact our reputation, employee retention, and the willingness of our customers and suppliers to do business with us.
III. Risks Related to our Intellectual Property and Information Technology
(i) Protection of intellectual property and litigation
If we are unable to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights for the products we develop, or if the scope of our intellectual property protection is not sufficiently broad, others may be able to develop and commercialize products substantially similar to ours, and our business may be adversely affected.
Our intellectual property is an essential asset of our business. Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property rights could result in our competitors offering similar products, potentially resulting in the loss of our competitive advantage and a decrease in our net sales, which would adversely affect our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations. We place considerable emphasis on technological innovation, including our proprietary CloudTec and Speedboard technologies. We rely
on a combination of intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks, design rights, trade secrets and domain names, in addition to confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to establish, maintain, protect and enforce our rights in our brand, technologies, proprietary information and processes.
For example, we rely heavily upon our trademarks and related domain names and distinctive logos to market our premium brand and to build and maintain brand loyalty and recognition. Without adequate protection for our trademarks and trade names, we will not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected. Effective trademark protection may not be available or may not be sought in every country in which our products are made available, and contractual disputes may affect the use of marks governed by private contract. Our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, declared generic or determined to be dilutive of or infringing on other trademarks, or may lapse. Further, at times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names. We have in the past entered, and may in the future enter, into trademark co-existence agreements to settle such claims. Such agreements may restrict the ways in which we are permitted to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce certain trademark rights. Over the long term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively and our business may be adversely affected. Similarly, not every variation of a domain name may be available or be registered, even if available. The occurrence of any of these events could result in the erosion of our brand and limit our ability to market our brand using our various domain names, as well as impede our ability to effectively compete against competitors with similar products or technologies.
Additionally, we rely on patent laws for the protection of our products and product components such as our Sole, CloudTec, upper, Speedboard and lacing technologies. Any patents that may issue in the future from our pending or future patent applications may not provide us with competitive advantages, may be of limited territorial reach and may be held invalid or unenforceable if successfully challenged by third parties, which may lead to increased competition to our business, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Certain of our most important patents, including those related to our CloudTec technology, are due to expire in the near future, and as our patents expire, the scope of our patent protection will be reduced for certain of our patented technology in those jurisdictions where such protection has existed, which may reduce or eliminate any competitive advantage afforded by our patent portfolio for products utilizing the protected technology or application in those jurisdictions. Additionally, certain of our patents are limited to certain jurisdictions and do not cover all of our key markets. As a result, our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours. Furthermore, the issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability, and we may become party to adversarial proceedings regarding our patent portfolio or the patents of third parties. Such proceedings could include supplemental examination or contested post-grant proceedings such as review, reexamination, interference or derivation proceedings challenging our patent rights. It is also possible that third parties, including our competitors, may obtain patents relating to technologies that overlap or compete with our technology. If third parties obtain patent protection with respect to such technologies, they may assert that our technology infringes their patents and seek to charge us a licensing fee or otherwise preclude the use of certain of our technologies.
Any successful third-party challenge to our patents could result in the unenforceability or invalidity of such patents, which may lead to increased competition to our business, which could harm our business. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our patents and patent applications is threatened, regardless of the outcome, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future products.
We also rely on agreements under which we contract to own, or license rights to use, intellectual property developed by employees, contractors and other third parties. While we seek to enter into
agreements with all of our employees who develop intellectual property during their employment to assign the rights in such intellectual property to us, we may fail to enter into such agreements with all relevant employees, such agreements may be breached or may not be self-executing, and we may be subject to claims that our employees have misappropriated the trade secrets or other intellectual property or proprietary rights of their former employers or other third parties.
In addition, while we generally enter into confidentiality, intellectual property assignment and non-compete agreements with our employees and third parties, as applicable, to protect our trade secrets, know-how, business strategy and other proprietary information, such confidentiality agreements could be breached and our proprietary information could be disclosed, and we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. These agreements also may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets and know-how related to our products in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure or other breaches of the agreements, and we may not be able to prevent such unauthorized disclosure, which could adversely impact our ability to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in the market. If we are required to assert our rights against such parties, it could result in significant cost and distraction. Depending on the parties involved in such a breach, the available remedies may not provide adequate compensation for the value of the proprietary information disclosed to a third party.
We cannot guarantee that our efforts to obtain and maintain intellectual property rights are adequate, that we have secured, or will be able to secure, appropriate permissions or protections for all of the intellectual property rights we use or rely on. Furthermore, even if we are able to obtain any intellectual property rights, any such intellectual property rights may be challenged, invalidated, circumvented, infringed, misappropriated or otherwise violated. Any challenge to our intellectual property rights could result in them being narrowed in scope or declared invalid or unenforceable. In addition, other parties may also independently develop products and technologies that are substantially similar or superior to ours and we may not be able to stop such parties from using such independently developed products or technologies from competing with us. If we fail to obtain and maintain our intellectual property rights adequately, we may lose an important advantage in the markets in which we compete.
Intellectual property rights in certain elements of our products and manufacturing technology are owned or controlled by our suppliers and are generally not unique to us. Our ability to obtain intellectual property protection for our products is therefore limited. As a result, our current and future competitors are able to manufacture and sell products with performance characteristics, designs and styling similar to our products. Because many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, distribution, marketing, and other resources than we do, they may be able to manufacture and sell products based on ours at lower prices than we can. If our competitors sell products similar to ours at lower prices, our financial results could suffer.
Our intellectual property rights and the enforcement or defense of such rights may be affected by developments or uncertainty in laws and regulations relating to intellectual property rights. Some of our brands, trademarks and logos might not be sufficiently distinctive for robust legal protection. Moreover, many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, design rights, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property protection, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement, misappropriation or other violation of our intellectual property or marketing of competing products in violation of our intellectual property rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us.
We also may be forced to bring claims against third parties to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property or to enforce our intellectual property against its infringement, misappropriation or other violations by third parties. However, the measures we take to protect our intellectual property from unauthorized use by others may not be effective and there can be no
assurance that our intellectual property rights will be sufficient to protect against others offering products that are substantially similar or superior to ours and that compete with our business. In intellectual property-related proceedings in court or before patent, trademark and copyright agencies, the defendant could claim that our asserted intellectual property is invalid or unenforceable and the court may agree that our asserted intellectual property is invalid or unenforceable, in which case we could lose valuable intellectual property rights. The outcome following such intellectual property-related proceedings is often unpredictable. In addition, even if we are successful in enforcing our intellectual property against third parties, the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Regardless of whether any such proceedings are resolved in our favor, such proceedings could cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our personnel from their normal responsibilities. In addition, if the strength of our intellectual property portfolio is threatened, regardless of the outcome, it could dissuade others from collaborating with us to license intellectual property, or develop or commercialize current or future products. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.
Over time we may increase our investment in protecting our intellectual property through additional patent, trademark and other intellectual property filings, which could be expensive and time consuming. Effective patent, trademark, trade secret, design right, copyright and other intellectual property protection is expensive to develop and maintain, both in terms of initial and ongoing registration requirements and the costs of defending our rights. Even so, these measures may not be sufficient to offer us meaningful protection. Furthermore, monitoring unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly. From time to time, we seek to analyze our competitors’ products, and may in the future seek to enforce our rights against potential infringement, misappropriation or other violation. However, the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property rights may not be adequate to prevent infringement, misappropriation or other violations of our intellectual property. We may not be able to detect unauthorized use of, or take appropriate steps to enforce, our intellectual property rights, or pursue all counterfeiters who may seek to benefit from our brand. Any inability to meaningfully protect our intellectual property rights could result in harm to our ability to compete and reduce demand for our products. Moreover, our failure to develop and properly manage new intellectual property could adversely affect our market positions, business opportunities and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Third parties may initiate legal proceedings alleging that we are infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating their intellectual property rights, the outcome of which would be uncertain and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our commercial success depends on our avoiding infringement, misappropriation or other violations of the intellectual property rights of third parties. As we face increasing competition, and to the extent we gain greater public recognition, the possibility of intellectual property rights claims against us grows. Any claim or litigation alleging that we have infringed, misappropriated or otherwise violated intellectual property rights of third parties, with or without merit, and whether or not settled out of court or determined in our favor, could be time consuming and costly to address and resolve, and could divert the time and attention of our management and technical personnel. Such claims may be made by third parties seeking to obtain a competitive advantage, including non-practicing entities or individuals with no relevant product sales, and, therefore, our own issued and pending patents, registered designs, registered trademarks and other intellectual property rights may provide little or no deterrence to these rights holders in bringing intellectual property rights claims against us. Additionally, some third parties have substantially greater human and financial resources than we do and are able to sustain the costs and workload of complex intellectual property litigation to a greater degree and for longer periods of time than we could. The outcome of any litigation is inherently uncertain, and there can be no assurances that favorable final outcomes will be obtained in all cases. In addition, third parties may seek, and we may become subject to, preliminary or provisional rulings in the course of any such
litigation, including potential preliminary injunctions requiring us to change our products or even cease the commercialization of our products entirely.
We may decide to settle such lawsuits and disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us. Similarly, if any litigation to which we are a party is resolved adversely, we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal, including being subject to a permanent injunction and being required to pay substantial monetary damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, if we are found to have willfully infringed a party’s intellectual property rights. The terms of such a settlement or judgment may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party. Even if we have an agreement to indemnify us against such costs, the indemnifying party may be unable or unwilling to uphold its contractual obligations. Further, our liability insurance may not cover potential claims of this type adequately or at all. In addition, we may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of a third party’s rights. If we are required, or choose to enter into royalty or licensing arrangements, such arrangements may not be available on reasonable terms, or at all, and may significantly increase our operating costs and expenses. Such arrangements may also only be available on a non-exclusive basis, such that third parties, including our competitors, could have access to use the same intellectual property to compete with us. We may also have to redesign our products so they do not infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate third-party intellectual property rights, which may not be possible or may require substantial monetary expenditures and time, during which our products may not be available for commercialization or use. If we cannot redesign our products in a non-infringing manner or obtain a license for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our products and may be unable to compete effectively.
In addition, in any intellectual property proceeding against us or that we assert against a third party, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a material adverse effect on the price of our Class A ordinary shares. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our expenses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or distribution activities. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. Any of the foregoing, and any unfavorable resolution of such disputes and litigation, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We license intellectual property rights from third-party owners. If we fail to comply with our obligations in any current or future agreements under which we license intellectual property rights from third parties or otherwise experience disruptions to our business relationships with our licensors, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
We are and may become party to license agreements with third parties to obtain the rights to certain brands or to allow commercialization of our products. Such agreements may impose numerous obligations, such as development, payment, royalty, sublicensing, insurance, enforcement and other obligations on us in order to maintain the licenses. In spite of our best efforts, our licensors might conclude that we have materially breached such license agreements and might therefore terminate the license agreements, thereby removing or limiting our ability to use certain brands or develop and commercialize products covered by these license agreements. For example, we do not own “THE ROGER” brand and are dependent on a license from Tenro AG for certain trademarks and other rights related to Roger Federer’s name, image and likeness. If our license agreement with Tenro AG were to terminate for any reason, we may be required to cease the development, advertisement, promotion and sale of certain of our products. Any termination of our licenses could result in the loss of significant rights and could harm our ability to commercialize our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our sales, profitability or financial condition.
Disputes may also arise between us and our licensors regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement, including:
•the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;
•our compliance with reporting, financial or other obligations under the license agreement;
•the amounts of royalties or other payments due under the license agreement;
•whether and the extent to which we infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate intellectual property rights of the licensor that are not subject to the license agreement;
•our right to sublicense applicable rights to third parties;
•our right to transfer or assign the license; and
•the ownership of intellectual property and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by our future licensors and us and our partners.
If we do not prevail in such disputes, we may lose any or all of our rights under such license agreements, experience significant delays in the development and commercialization of our products and technologies, or incur liability for damages, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may seek to obtain additional licenses from our licensors, and, in connection with obtaining such licenses, we may agree to amend our existing licenses in a manner that may be more favorable to the applicable licensor, including by agreeing to terms that could enable third parties, including our competitors, to receive licenses to a portion of the intellectual property that is subject to our existing licenses and to compete with our products.
In addition, the agreements under which we may license intellectual property from third parties are likely to be complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property, or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our sales, business, financial condition or results of operations.
Moreover, if disputes over intellectual property that we license from third parties prevent or impair our ability to maintain our license agreements on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully commercialize the affected products, which could have a material adverse effect on our sales, business, financial conditions or results of operations.
(ii) Information technology security, laws, and systems
A security breach or other disruption to our information technology (“IT”) systems could result in the loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, or unauthorized access of customer, supplier, or sensitive company information or could disrupt our operations, which could damage our relationships with customers, suppliers or employees, expose us to litigation or regulatory proceedings, or harm our reputation, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our business involves the storage and transmission of a significant amount of personal, confidential, and sensitive information, including the personal information of our customers and employees, credit card information, information relating to customer preferences, and our proprietary financial, operational and strategic information. The protection of this information is vitally important to us as the loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, or unauthorized access of such information could lead to significant reputational or competitive harm, result in litigation involving us or our business partners, expose us to regulatory proceedings, and cause us to incur substantial liabilities, fines, penalties, or expenses. As a result, we believe our future success and growth depends, in part, on the ability of our key business processes and systems, including our IT and global communication systems, to prevent the theft, loss, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, or unauthorized access of this personal, confidential, and sensitive information, and to respond quickly and effectively if data security incidents do occur.
The frequency, intensity, and sophistication of cyber-attacks, ransom-ware attacks, and other data security incidents has significantly increased in recent years and, as with many other businesses, we have experienced, and are continually at risk of being subject to, such attacks and incidents. Due to the increased risk of these types of attacks and incidents, we expend significant resources on IT and data security tools, measures, and processes designed to protect our IT systems, as well as the personal, confidential, or sensitive information stored on or transmitted through those systems, and to ensure an effective response to any cyber-attack or data security incident. Despite the implementation of preventative and detective security controls, our IT systems are vulnerable to damage or interruption from a variety of sources, including telecommunications or network failures or interruptions, system malfunction, natural disasters, epidemics, malicious human acts, terrorism and war. Our ability to effectively manage and maintain our inventory and to ship products to customers on a timely basis depends significantly on the reliability of our IT systems. We also use these systems to process financial information and results of operations for internal reporting purposes and to comply with regulatory financial reporting, legal and tax requirements. IT systems provided by third parties, such as Microsoft and Salesforce, may also be difficult to integrate with other tools due to their complexity, resulting in high data inconsistency and incompatibility.
Our IT systems are additionally vulnerable to physical or electronic break-ins, security breaches from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees, third-party service providers, contractors, consultants, business partners, and/or other third parties, from cyber-attacks by malicious third parties (including the deployment of harmful malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering, and other means to affect service reliability and threaten the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information), or other data security incidents. These risks may be exacerbated in the remote work environment. In addition, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to IT systems are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, may not be recognized until launched, and can originate from a wide variety of sources, including outside groups such as external service providers, organized crime affiliates, terrorist organizations, or hostile foreign governments or agencies, we may be unable to anticipate all types of security threats or implement adequate preventive measures in response.
Cyber-attacks or data security incidents could remain undetected for an extended period, which could potentially result in significant harm to our systems, as well as unauthorized access to the information stored on and transmitted by our systems. Even when a security breach is detected, the full extent of the breach may not be determined immediately. The costs to us to mitigate network security problems, bugs, viruses, worms, malicious software programs and security vulnerabilities could be significant and, while we have implemented security measures to protect our systems, our efforts to address these problems may not be successful. Further, despite our security efforts and training, our employees may purposefully or inadvertently cause security breaches that could harm our systems or result in the unauthorized disclosure of or access to information. Any measures we do take to prevent security breaches, whether caused by employees or third parties, have the potential to limit our ability to complete sales or ship products to our customers, harm relationships with our suppliers, or restrict our ability to meet our customers’ expectations with respect to their online or retail shopping experience.
A cyber-attack or other data security incident could result in the significant and protracted disruption of our business such that:
•critical business systems become inoperable or require a significant amount of time or cost to restore;
•key personnel are unable to perform their duties or communicate with employees, customers or third-party partners;
•it results in the loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized disclosure or unauthorized access of customer, supplier or company information;
•we are prevented from accessing information necessary to conduct our business;
•we are required to make unanticipated investments in equipment, technology or security measures;
•customers cannot access our e-commerce websites and customer orders may not be received or fulfilled;
•we become subject to return fraud schemes, reselling schemes and imposter sites schemes; or
•we become subject to other unanticipated liabilities, costs or claims.
If any of these events were to occur, it could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and result in harm to our reputation and the price of our Class A ordinary shares. Furthermore, we do not currently maintain a disaster recovery or business continuity plan to address such disruptions and we may not be able to adequately continue our business or return to operability within a reasonable period of time in the case of such an occurrence. Recovery of our IT systems may be additionally hampered where we have outsourced the operation of IT and data storage to third parties.
In addition, if a cyber-attack or other data incident results in the loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, or unauthorized access of personal, confidential, or sensitive information belonging to our customers, suppliers, or employees, it could put us at a competitive disadvantage, result in the deterioration of our customers’ confidence in our brand, cause our suppliers to reconsider their relationship with our company or impose more onerous contractual provisions and subject us to potential litigation, liability, fines and penalties. For example, we could be subject to regulatory or other actions pursuant to domestic and international privacy laws, including regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in the EU and Swiss data protection laws. This could result in costly investigations and litigation, civil or criminal penalties, operational changes, and negative publicity that could adversely affect our reputation, as well as our results of operations and financial condition. For more information regarding risks related to our data privacy and security practices, see “—Changes in laws or regulations relating to data privacy and security, or any actual or perceived failure by us to comply with such laws and regulations, or contractual or other obligations relating to data privacy and security, could lead to government enforcement actions (which could include civil or criminal penalties), private litigation or adverse publicity and could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.”
We do not currently maintain separate cybersecurity insurance, and any insurance we may maintain now or in the future against risks associated with cyber-attacks and data incidents may be insufficient to cover all losses and would not, in any event, remedy damage to our reputation. In addition, we may face difficulties in recovering any losses from a provider and any losses we recover may be lower than we initially expect.
We are also reliant on the security practices of our third-party service providers, which may be outside of our direct control. The services provided by these third parties are subject to the same risk of outages, other failures and security breaches described above. If these third parties fail to adhere to adequate security practices, or experience a breach of their systems, the data of our employees, customers and business associates may be improperly accessed, used or disclosed. In addition, our providers have broad discretion to change and interpret the terms of service and other policies with respect to us, and those actions may be unfavorable to our business operations. Our providers may also take actions beyond our control that could harm our business, including discontinuing or limiting our access to one or more services, increasing pricing terms, terminating or seeking to terminate our contractual relationship altogether, or altering how we are able to process data in a way that is unfavorable or costly to us. Although we expect that we could obtain similar services from other third parties, if our arrangements with our current providers were terminated, we could experience interruptions in our business, as well as delays and additional expenses in arranging for alternative cloud infrastructure services. Any loss or interruption to our IT systems or the services provided by third parties could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict which started in February 2022, there have been publicized threats to increase hacking activity against the critical infrastructure of any nation or organization that retaliates against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Any such increase in such attacks on our third-party service
providers or other systems could adversely affect our network systems or other operations. We have measures in place that are designed to detect and respond to such cyber-attacks and data security incidents, but there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent or detect such cyber-attacks and data security incidents.
Changes in laws or regulations relating to data privacy and security, or any actual or perceived failure by us to comply with such laws and regulations, or contractual or other obligations relating to data privacy and security, could lead to government enforcement actions (which could include civil or criminal penalties), private litigation or adverse publicity and could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We are, and may increasingly become, subject to various laws, directives, industry standards and regulations, as well as contractual obligations, relating to data privacy and security in the jurisdictions in which we operate. The regulatory environment related to data privacy and security is increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to our business, and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. These laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied differently over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is possible that they will be interpreted and applied in ways that may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
In the United States, various federal and state regulators, including governmental agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, have adopted, or are considering adopting, laws and regulations concerning personal information and data security and have prioritized privacy and information security violations for enforcement actions. Certain state laws may be more stringent or broader in scope, or offer greater individual rights, with respect to personal information than federal, international or other state laws, and such laws may differ from each other, all of which may complicate compliance efforts. For example, the CCPA, which increases privacy rights for California residents and imposes obligations on companies that process their personal information, went into effect on January 1, 2020. Among other things, the CCPA requires covered companies to provide new disclosures to California consumers and provide such consumers new data protection and privacy rights, including the ability to opt out of certain data-sharing arrangements of personal information, and the ability to access and delete personal information. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain data breaches that result in the loss of personal information. This private right of action may increase the likelihood of, and risks associated with, data breach litigation. Furthermore, in November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA”), which went into effect on January 1, 2023. The CPRA imposes additional obligations on companies covered by the legislation and expands the CCPA's requirements, including by adding a new right for individuals to correct their personal information and establishing a new regulatory agency to implement and enforce the law. Other states, such as Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut and Utah have also passed comprehensive privacy laws, and similar laws are being considered in several other states. In addition, laws in all 50 states in the United States require businesses to provide notice to consumers (and, in some cases, to regulators) whose personal information has been accessed or acquired as a result of a data breach. State laws are changing rapidly and there is discussion in Congress of a new comprehensive federal data privacy law to which we would become subject if it is enacted, which may add additional complexity, variation in requirements, restrictions and potential legal risks, require additional investment of resources in compliance programs, impact strategies and the availability of previously useful data and could result in increased compliance costs or changes in business practices and policies.
We are also subject to international laws, regulations and standards in many jurisdictions, which apply broadly to the collection, use, retention, security, disclosure, transfer and other processing of personal information. For example, the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, greatly increased the European Commission’s jurisdictional reach of its laws and adds a broad array of requirements for handling personal data. EU member states are tasked under the GDPR to enact, and have enacted, certain implementing legislation that adds to or further interprets the GDPR requirements and potentially
extends our obligations and potential liability for failing to meet such obligations. The GDPR, together with national legislation, regulations and guidelines of the EU member states and the United Kingdom governing the processing of personal data, imposes strict obligations and restrictions on the ability to collect, use, retain, protect, disclose, transfer and otherwise process personal data. In particular, the GDPR includes obligations and restrictions concerning data transparency and consent, the overall rights of individuals to whom the personal data relates, the transfer of personal data out of the European Economic Area (“EEA”) or the United Kingdom, security breach notifications and the security and confidentiality of personal data. The GDPR authorizes fines for certain violations of up to 4% of global annual net sales or €20 million, whichever is greater. Recent legal developments in the EU have created further complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal data from the EEA and the United Kingdom to the United States. Most recently, in July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (“Privacy Shield”) under which personal data could be transferred from the EEA to the United States. While the CJEU upheld the adequacy of standard contractual clauses, a standard form of contract approved by the European Commission as an adequate personal data transfer mechanism and potential alternative to the Privacy Shield, it made clear that reliance on them alone may not necessarily be sufficient in all circumstances. Further, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU has created uncertainty with regard to data protection regulation in the United Kingdom. As of January 1, 2021, we are also subject to the UK GDPR and UK Data Protection Act of 2018, which retains the GDPR in the United Kingdom’s national law. These recent developments will require us to review and amend the legal mechanisms by which we make or receive personal data transfers. As supervisory authorities issue further guidance on personal data export mechanisms, including circumstances where the standard contractual clauses and other mechanisms cannot be used, or start taking enforcement action, we could suffer additional costs, complaints or regulatory investigations or fines, or if we are otherwise unable to transfer personal data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, it could affect the manner in which we do business, the geographical location or segregation of our relevant operations, and could adversely affect our financial results.
The Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection, or DPA, also applies to the collection and processing of personal data by companies located in Switzerland, or in certain circumstances, by companies located outside of Switzerland. The DPA has been revised and adopted by the Swiss Parliament, and the revised version and its revised ordinance is expected to enter into force on September 1, 2023. This revised law may lead to an increase in our costs of compliance, risk of noncompliance and penalties for noncompliance.
All of these evolving compliance and operational requirements impose significant costs, such as costs related to organizational changes, implementing additional protection technologies, training associates and engaging consultants, which are likely to increase over time. In addition, such requirements may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, distract management or divert resources from other initiatives and projects, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with any applicable federal, state or similar foreign laws and regulations relating to data privacy and security could result in damage to our reputation and our relationship with our customers, as well as proceedings or litigation by governmental agencies or customers, including class action privacy litigation in certain jurisdictions, which could subject us to significant fines, sanctions, awards, penalties or judgments, any of which could result in costly investigations and litigation, civil or criminal penalties, operational changes, and negative publicity that could adversely affect our reputation, as well as our results of operations and financial condition.
We rely on a large number of complex IT systems. The integration of these IT systems may not be successful. Any failure to operate, maintain and upgrade our IT systems may materially and adversely affect our operations.
It is critical to our success that retailers, consumers and potential new customers within the countries we operate in are able to access our online services at all times. We operate on a combination of shared and individual, central or local IT systems and solutions. Any failure of either central or local IT
systems and functions may disrupt the efficiency and functioning of all our operations. Updates or changes in the software or hardware technology may lead to failures of communication between our platforms and customers in the course of the order transmission or other processes. We therefore rely on a large number of IT systems, such as local network and internet coverage, to manage the entire process, from the placing of and payment for orders online by customers to the receipt of and confirmation of those orders by our backend systems, which creates significant complexity and negatively affects our ability to scale our business and realize cost savings.
We have made substantial investments into the development of our IT systems, which form the back bone of our business operations. Due to the complexity of these IT systems, we cannot rule out that they may cause or contribute to failures in the order transmission process or may prove less efficient than anticipated. In addition, a failure of any individual network carrier, IT system or IT provider would impact our ability to receive and transmit orders or to accept payment for orders. The efficient operation and scalability of our own IT systems and third-party IT systems is therefore critical to maintain operations.
We have previously experienced service disruptions, and in the future, we may experience further service disruptions, outages, or other performance problems due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, capacity constraints due to an overwhelming number of users accessing our platform simultaneously, and fraud, denial-of-service attacks or cyber-attacks. In some instances, we may not be able to identify the cause or causes of these performance problems within an acceptable period of time. It may become increasingly difficult to maintain and improve the availability of our platform, especially during peak usage times and as customer traffic increases. If our online marketplace is unavailable when users attempt to access it or does not load as quickly as customers expect, they may seek other services, and may not return to our online marketplace as often in the future, or at all. This would harm our ability to attract customers and decrease the frequency with which customers use our online marketplace. We expect to continue to make significant investments to maintain and improve the availability of our online marketplace and to enable rapid releases of new products. To the extent that we do not effectively address capacity constraints, respond adequately to service disruptions, upgrade our systems as needed or continually develop our technology and network architecture to accommodate actual and anticipated changes in technology, our business, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares would be harmed.
The materialization of any of the risks described above could have a material adverse effect on our assets, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
IV. Risks Related to Our Financial, Accounting and Tax Matters
(i) Additional investments in our business
We plan to primarily use cash from operations to finance our growth strategy, but may need to raise additional capital that may be required to grow our business, which we may not be able to raise on terms acceptable to us or at all.
While we intend to primarily finance our growth through the cash flows generated by our operations, we may need to seek additional capital, potentially through debt or equity financings, to fund our growth. We cannot assure you that we will be able to raise the needed cash on terms acceptable to us or at all. In particular, there may be volatility in the financial markets or a lack of investor demand, which would negatively impact our ability to raise additional capital. In addition, macroeconomic conditions, such as increased volatility or disruption in the credit markets, could adversely affect our ability to incur indebtedness. Further, to combat rising inflation, central banks may deploy various strategies, including increasing interest rates, which may impact our borrowing costs and in turn, our financial condition should we incur more debt. Financings may be on terms that are dilutive or potentially dilutive to our shareholders, and the prices at which new investors would be willing to purchase our securities may be lower than the price per share of our Class A ordinary shares. The holders of any new securities may also have rights, preferences or privileges which are senior to those of existing holders of
ordinary shares. If we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing shareholders may experience substantial dilution, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of holders of our Class A ordinary shares. If new sources of financing are required, but are insufficient or unavailable, we will be required to modify our growth and operating plans based on available funding, if any, which would harm our profitability, business, results of operation, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We have and expect to continue to incur expenses and devote resources and management time as a result of being a public company, which may negatively impact our financial performance and could cause our results of operations and financial condition to suffer.
We have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses as our company has grown in recent years. The rules implemented by the SEC, the NYSE, and the securities regulators in Switzerland have required changes in corporate governance practices of public companies. Compliance with these laws, rules and regulations has and will continue to substantially increase our expenses, including our legal, accounting and information technology costs and expenses, and make some activities more time consuming and costly, and these new obligations will require attention from our senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business. As a public company, these laws, rules and regulations make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. Due to increased risks and exposure it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as officers. As a result of the foregoing, we expect to continue to incur a substantial increase in legal, accounting, insurance and certain other expenses in the future, which will negatively impact our financial performance and could cause our results of operations and financial condition to suffer.
Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to the delisting of our Class A ordinary shares, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation, which could adversely impact our business, results of operation, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our financial results may be adversely affected if substantial investments in businesses and operations fail to produce expected returns.
From time to time, we may invest in technology, business infrastructure, new businesses, product offering and manufacturing innovation and expansion of existing businesses, such as our DTC operations, which require substantial cash investments and management attention. We believe cost-effective investments are essential to business growth and profitability; however, significant investments are subject to typical risks and uncertainties inherent in developing a new business or expanding an existing business. Additionally, our future potential will require further investments into our supply chain and operations capabilities, including but not limited to new warehouses or other facilities. For instance, during the third quarter of 2022, we entered into a third party logistics and warehouse services agreement for a new, highly-automated fulfillment center in Atlanta (USA) to facilitate our future omnichannel growth in North America and lower our handling cost over time through automation. The failure of any significant investment to provide expected returns or profitability could adversely impact our financial results and results of operation, and divert our management’s attention from more profitable business operations.
(ii) Financial reporting and internal controls
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect, our operating results could be adversely affected.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with IFRS accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated
financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances at the time of the estimate, as provided in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects - E. Critical Accounting Estimates.” The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities and equity, and the amount of net sales and expenses that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include those related to right-of-use assets, intangible assets, share-based compensation, employee benefits, provisions and taxes. Our operating results may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our operating results to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If On is unable to remediate this material weakness or otherwise fails to maintain an effective system of internal controls, On may not be able to accurately or timely report its financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect its business and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for the Company to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation could cause the Company to fail to meet its reporting obligations.
As described in more detail in "Item 15. Controls and Procedures", in this annual report on Form 20-F, management has concluded that we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the Company’s annual or interim consolidated financial statements will not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis.
While we have designed and implemented controls to remediate the material weakness, as described in more detail in "Item 15. Controls and Procedures", our efforts may not be successful.
The material weakness did not result in a material misstatement in our financial statements; however, if we are unable to remediate this material weakness or if other material weaknesses are detected in the future, any such material weakness could result in misstatements of our account balances or disclosures that would result in material misstatements of our financial statements that would not be prevented or detected. If we do not effectively remediate this material weakness or if we otherwise fail to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial information and such failure could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which in turn could result in a reduction in the trading price of our Class A ordinary shares. Remediation measures may be time consuming, costly, and may place significant demands on our financial and operational resources. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully remediate the material weakness described in "Item 15. Controls and Procedures", or any future material weaknesses that are identified. Even if we successfully remediate such material weakness, we cannot assure you that we will not suffer from this or other material weaknesses in the future.
(iii) Foreign currency exchange rates
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could harm our net sales, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
The reporting currency for our consolidated financial statements is the Swiss franc. Because we recognize net sales in the United States in U.S. dollars, if the U.S. dollar weakens against the Swiss franc, it would have a negative impact on our net sales and operating results upon translation of those results into Swiss francs for the purposes of financial statement consolidation. We may face similar risks
in other foreign jurisdictions where sales are recognized in foreign currencies such as the Euro, GBP and others. In addition, the majority of our cost of purchases of finished goods are sourced in U.S. dollars, and if the U.S. strengthens against the Swiss franc, it would have a negative impact on our operating results upon translation of those results into Swiss francs for purposes of financial statement consolidation. Although we may engage in short-term hedging transactions for a large portion of our foreign currency-denominated cash flows to mitigate foreign exchange risks, depending upon changes in future currency rates, such gains or losses could have a significant, and potentially adverse, effect on our results of operations. Foreign exchange variations (including the value of the Swiss franc relative to the U.S. dollar) have been significant in the past and current foreign exchange rates may not be indicative of future exchange rates.
Our earnings per share are reported in Swiss francs, and accordingly may be translated into U.S. dollars by analysts or our investors. As a result, the value of an investment in our Class A ordinary shares to a U.S. shareholder will fluctuate as the U.S. dollar rises and falls against the Swiss franc. Our decision to declare a dividend depends on results of operations reported in Swiss francs. As a result, U.S. and other shareholders seeking U.S. dollar total returns, including increases in the price of our Class A ordinary shares and dividends paid, are subject to foreign exchange risk as the U.S. dollar rises and falls against the Swiss franc.
(iv) Tax matters
We could be subject to changes in tax laws, tax regulations and tax treaties, including their interpretation and application, in Switzerland, the United States or any other country in which we operate, which could result in additional tax liabilities or increased volatility in our effective tax rate.
We are subject to the tax laws in Switzerland, the United States and numerous other jurisdictions. Current economic and political conditions make tax laws, tax regulations and tax treaties, including their interpretation and application, in any jurisdiction subject to significant change. We earn a substantial portion of our income in countries around the world and are subject to the tax laws of those jurisdictions. A number of the jurisdictions in which we operate have recently reformed or changed their tax laws, regulations and tax treaties, such as the anti-tax avoidance directive adopted by the member states of the EU, and many jurisdictions are considering other proposals to reform or change their tax laws, regulations and tax treaties, including minimum tax and tax-avoidance proposals being considered in connection with the OECD’s project on base erosion and profit shifting, and proposals in the United States. The adoption or implementation of these proposals could significantly impact how we are taxed on our earnings from operations in these jurisdictions. Although we cannot predict whether or in what form these proposals will be adopted, several of the proposals considered, if enacted into law, could have an adverse impact on our income tax expense and cash flows. Portions of our operations are subject to a reduced tax rate or are free of tax under various tax holidays and rulings. We also utilize tax rulings and other agreements to obtain certainty in treatment of certain tax matters. These holidays and rulings expire in whole or in part from time to time and may be extended when certain conditions are met or terminated if certain conditions are not met. The impact of any changes in conditions would be the loss of certainty in treatment thus potentially impacting our effective income tax rate.
We are subject to standard cantonal taxation and the statutory tax rate in Zurich, Canton of Zurich, may change from time to time. The standard combined (federal, cantonal, municipal) statutory corporate income tax rate, except for dividend income for which we could claim a participation exemption, for 2022 in Zurich, Canton of Zurich, was approximately 19.7%.
In October 2021, OECD published key parameters and rules on a minimum tax rate of 15% (Pillar Two) for multinational enterprises with revenue of more than EUR 750 million, such as our business. Many jurisdictions in which we are subject to income taxes, are expected to adopt the OECD global minimum tax rules which will impose detailed reporting obligations and increase compliance and systems-related costs on our businesses. Although the OECD Pillar Two framework provides mitigating transition rules and substance-based relief measures, global minimum tax levels may affect our effective tax rate. In 2022, the Swiss Federal Council decided to implement the OECD rules on a global minimum
tax rate by means of a constitutional amendment. If the amendment is approved in a mandatory referendum, the minimum tax will come into force on January 1, 2024 by means of a temporary ordinance, with a law to be subsequently enacted through the normal legislative process. Should Switzerland, or other jurisdictions in which we have a taxable presence, decide not to adopt the OECD global minimum tax framework, backstop rules of the framework may enable other countries in which we operate to impose tax in respect of under-taxed income which could result in additional tax liabilities or increased volatility in our effective tax rate.
Adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to the examination of our tax returns by tax authorities in Switzerland, the United States and numerous other jurisdictions. We regularly assess the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of its provision for income taxes. Although we believe our tax provisions are adequate, the final determination of tax audits and any related disputes could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals. The results of audits or related disputes could have an adverse effect on our financial statements for the period or periods for which the applicable final determinations are made. For example, we and our subsidiaries are engaged in a number of intercompany transactions across multiple tax jurisdictions. Although we believe that our transfer pricing policies and positions are correct under current law and we have clearly reflected the economics of these transactions and the proper local transfer pricing documentation is in place, tax authorities may propose and sustain adjustments that could result in changes that may result in material additional tax liabilities and impact our mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates. These factors could have a negative impact on our business, results of operation, financial condition and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
If we are a “passive foreign investment company,” or a PFIC, a U.S. shareholder may be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences.
Under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, we will be a PFIC for any taxable year in which, after the application of certain look-through rules with respect to our subsidiaries, either (i) 75% or more of our gross income consists of passive income or (ii) 50% or more of the average quarterly value of our assets consists of assets that produce, or are held for the production of, passive income (including cash). Passive income includes, among other things, dividends, interest, certain non-active rents and royalties, and capital gains. Based on the market price of our Class A ordinary shares during 2022 and the composition of our income and assets, including goodwill, we believe we were not a PFIC for our 2022 taxable year. However, the determination of whether we are a PFIC is a fact-intensive determination that must be made on an annual basis applying principles and methodologies that are in some circumstances unclear, and whether we were a PFIC in 2022 is uncertain in several respects. Moreover, our PFIC status for any taxable year will depend on the composition of our income and assets and the value of our assets from time to time (which may be determined, in part, by reference to the market price of our Class A ordinary shares, which may fluctuate substantially over time). Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for any future taxable year.
Certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to U.S. investors if we are treated as a PFIC for any taxable year during which such investors hold our Class A ordinary shares. For further discussion, see "Taxation - U.S. Tax Considerations."
V. Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Compliance
(i) Trade policies, tariffs and import/export regulations
Changes to trade policies, tariffs and import/export regulations in the United States, EU and other jurisdictions, or our failure to comply with such regulations, may have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in U.S., EU or international social, political, regulatory and economic conditions could impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares. In particular, political and economic instability, geopolitical conflicts, political unrest, civil strife, terrorist activity, acts of war, public corruption, expropriation and other economic or political uncertainties in the United States or internationally could interrupt and negatively affect the sale of our products or other business operations. Any negative sentiment toward the United States, Switzerland or toward any country where we operate, sell or have our products manufactured as a result of any such changes could also adversely affect our business.
In addition, changes in laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development and investment in the territories or countries where we currently sell our products or conduct our business could adversely affect our business. In the past the United States has instituted or proposed changes in trade policies that include the negotiation or termination of trade agreements, the imposition of higher tariffs on imports into the United States, economic sanctions on individuals, corporations or countries, and other government regulations affecting trade between the United States and other countries where we conduct our business.
In particular, certain trade restrictions related to the Xinjiang region of China could impact our business. The U.S. Government has taken several steps to address forced labor concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, including sanctions on specific entities and individuals; withhold release orders ("WROs") issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") that prohibit the entry of imports of certain items from Xinjiang; and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which went into effect in June 2022, and imposes a rebuttable presumption against U.S. imports of any items from Xinjiang and specifically targets the cotton and apparel industry as high-priority sectors for enforcement. We do not intentionally source any products or materials from the Xinjiang region (either directly or indirectly through our supply chain) and we prohibit our suppliers and manufacturers from doing business with or sourcing from any company or entity located in China's Xinjiang region. However, the presumptive ban on virtually all imports from that region could affect the global sourcing and availability of raw materials used in the manufacturing of certain of our products and/or lead to our products being held for inspection by CBP and delayed or rejected for entry into the United States, which could unexpectedly affect our inventory levels, result in other supply chain disruptions, or cause us to be subject to penalties, fines or sanctions. Even if we were not subject to penalties, fines or sanctions, if products we source are linked in any way to the Xinjiang region, our reputation could be harmed. In addition, our products could be held for inspection by CBP, which would cause delays and unexpectedly affect our inventory levels. CBP has also in the past and may in the future challenge or disagree with our classification of our imports, or our valuation or country of origin determinations. While we have not experienced tariff liabilities in such instances, such challenges could in the future result in material tariff liabilities, including tariffs on past imports, as well as penalties and interest.
Changes or proposed changes in the trade policies of the United States, the European Economic Area or any of its member states or other jurisdictions may result in restrictions and economic disincentives on international trade. Tariffs and other changes in U.S. and other trade policies have in the past and could in the future trigger retaliatory actions by affected countries, and certain foreign governments have instituted or are considering imposing retaliatory measures on certain U.S. goods. Further, any emerging protectionist or nationalist trends either in the United States, the European Economic Area or any of its member states or in other countries could negatively affect the trade environment. We, similar to many other multinational corporations, do a significant amount of business that would be impacted by changes to the trade policies of the United States and other countries (including governmental action related to tariffs, international trade agreements, or economic sanctions). Such changes have the potential to adversely impact the U.S. economy or certain sectors thereof or the economy of another country in which we conduct operations, our industry and the global demand for our products, and as a result, could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
(ii) Data protection laws
Our marketing programs, e-commerce initiatives and use of customer information are governed by an evolving set of laws and enforcement trends and unfavorable changes in those laws or trends, or our failure to comply with existing or future laws, could substantially harm our business and results of operations.
We collect, process, maintain and use data, including sensitive information on individuals, available to us through online activities and other customer interactions in our business. Our current and future business operations (particularly our marketing and e-commerce activities) depend on our ability to collect, maintain and use this information, and our ability to do so is subject to evolving international, U.S., Swiss, EU, Chinese and other laws and enforcement trends. We strive to comply with all applicable laws and other legal obligations relating to privacy, data protection and customer protection, including those relating to the use of data for marketing purposes. It is possible, however, that these requirements may be interpreted and applied belatedly or in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another, may conflict with other rules, may conflict with our practices or fail to be observed by our employees or business partners. If so, we may suffer damage to our reputation and be subject to proceedings, fines or actions against us by governmental entities or others. Any such proceeding or action could hurt our reputation and financial situation, diminish our customer’s or employees' trust in our organization, force us to spend significant amounts to defend our practices and close identified gaps, distract our management or otherwise have an adverse effect on our business.
(iii) Legal or regulatory requirements, proceedings and audits
We may become involved in legal or regulatory proceedings and audits.
Our business requires compliance with many laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, labor and employment, product safety, labelling, sales and other taxes, customs, and consumer protection laws and ordinances that regulate our industry generally or govern the production, importation, promotion and sale of merchandise, and the operation of warehouse facilities. For example, various jurisdictions worldwide have laws and regulations that aim to protect consumers, including by prohibiting advertising or marketing practices that may be deemed misleading or deceptive. Failure to comply with any laws or regulations could subject us to lawsuits and other proceedings, and could also lead to damage awards, fines and penalties. We may become involved in a number of legal proceedings and audits, including, but not limited to, government and agency investigations, and consumer, employment, tort and other litigation. In addition, we could become subject to potential antitrust claims, which may relate to anti-competitive behavior, pricing pressures on our distribution and/or retail partners or other allegations. The outcome of some of these legal proceedings, audits and other contingencies
could require us to take actions, or refrain from taking actions, that could harm our operations or require us to pay substantial amounts of money, harming our financial condition. Additionally, defending against these lawsuits and proceedings could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources, harming our financial condition. There can be no assurance that any pending or future legal or regulatory proceedings and audits will not harm our business, financial condition, reputation, results of operations and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
VI. Risks Associated with Securities Markets and Ownership of Our Class A Ordinary Shares
(i) Dual class structure of our shares
The dual class structure of our shares and the existing ownership of Class B voting rights shares by our extended founder team have the effect of concentrating voting control with our extended founder team for the foreseeable future, which will limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters.
While each of our shares carries one vote in our general meeting of shareholders, irrespective of the par value of the shares, our Class A ordinary shares have a par value of CHF 0.10 and Class B voting rights shares have a par value of CHF 0.01. As a result, on a capital-invested basis, each Class B voting rights share has ten times the voting power of each Class A ordinary share. Given the increased voting power of our Class B voting rights shares, members of our extended founder team, who are our only Class B shareholders and who also hold certain of our Class A ordinary shares, hold approximately 59.7% of total combined voting power of our outstanding shares as at December 31, 2022. In addition, entitlements to dividends and other distributions are also calculated based on par value. As a result of our dual class ownership structure, our extended founder team will be able to exert control over our management and affairs and over matters requiring shareholder approval, including the election of directors and mergers, and indirectly over acquisitions, asset sales and other significant corporate transactions. Further, our extended founder team own shares representing approximately 18.7% of the economic interest as at December 31, 2022 and together with our other executive officers, directors and their affiliates, own shares representing approximately 29.5% of the economic interest and 65.0% of total combined voting power of our outstanding shares at December 31, 2022. Because of the 10-to-1 voting ratio between the Class B voting rights shares and Class A ordinary shares on a capital-invested basis, the holders of Class B voting rights shares collectively will continue to control a majority of the total combined voting power of our outstanding shares and therefore be able to control a substantial number of matters submitted to our shareholders for approval, so long as the outstanding Class B voting rights shares represent at least 50% of the total voting power of our shares. In addition, the members of our extended founder team entered into a shareholders’ agreement giving them a right of first refusal to purchase shares of Class B voting rights shares that are intended to be sold or transferred by other members of our extended founder team, subject to certain exceptions. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future. For example, our extended founder team will be able to control elections of directors, dividend payments and other distributions, and certain amendments of our articles of association, for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the holders of our Class B voting right shares may cause us, through the election of the directors, to make strategic decisions or pursue acquisitions that could involve risks to you, are contrary to your expectations or may not be aligned with your interests. This control may materially adversely affect the market price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our dual class structure may depress the trading price of our Class A ordinary shares.
Our dual class structure may result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A ordinary shares or in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. For example, certain index providers have announced restrictions on including companies with dual or multiple class share structures in certain of their indexes. S&P Dow Jones, MSCI and FTSE Russell have announced changes
to their eligibility criteria for inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the S&P 500. These changes exclude companies with multiple classes of shares from being added to these indices. In addition, several stockholder advisory firms have announced their opposition to the use of dual or multiple class structures. As a result, the dual class structure of our shares may prevent the inclusion of our Class A ordinary shares in these indices and mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not invest in our stock. Any such exclusion from indices could result in a less active trading market for our Class A ordinary shares and depress the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from the indices compared to those of similar companies that are included. Our dual-class structure may cause stockholder advisory firms to publish negative commentary about our corporate governance practices or otherwise seek to cause us to change our capital structure. Any actions or publications by stockholder advisory firms critical of our corporate governance practices or capital structure could also adversely affect the value of our Class A ordinary shares.
(ii) Foreign private issuer status
We may lose our foreign private issuer status, which would then require us to comply with the Exchange Act’s domestic reporting regime and cause us to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses.
We qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act and therefore we are not required to comply with all of the periodic disclosure and current reporting requirements of the Exchange Act applicable to U.S. domestic issuers. In order to maintain our current status as a foreign private issuer a majority of our outstanding voting securities must be either directly or indirectly owned of record by nonresidents of the United States or alternatively all of the following criteria must be met (i) a majority of our executive officers or directors may not be United States citizens or residents, (ii) more than 50% of our assets cannot be located in the United States and (iii) our business must be administered principally outside the United States. If we lose our status as a foreign private issuer, we would be required to comply with the Exchange Act reporting and other requirements applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, which are more detailed and extensive than the requirements for foreign private issuers, and would require us to present our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which would be time consuming and costly. We may also be required to make changes in our corporate governance practices in accordance with various Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and stock exchange rules. The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws if we are required to comply with the reporting requirements applicable to a U.S. domestic issuer may be significantly higher than the cost we would incur as a foreign private issuer. As a result, we expect that a loss of foreign private issuer status would increase our legal and financial compliance costs and would make some activities highly time consuming and costly. We also expect that if we are required to comply with the rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, it would be more difficult and expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These rules and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors.
As a foreign private issuer and “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE corporate governance rules, we are permitted to, and we do, rely on exemptions from certain of the NYSE corporate governance standards, including the requirement that a majority of our board of directors consist of independent directors. Our reliance on such exemptions may afford less protection to holders of our Class A ordinary shares.
The corporate governance rules of the NYSE require listed companies to have, among other things, a majority of independent directors and independent director oversight of executive compensation, nomination of directors and corporate governance matters. As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to, and we do, follow home country practice in lieu of the above requirements. As long as we rely on the foreign private issuer exemption to certain of the NYSE corporate governance
standards, a majority of the directors on our board of directors are not required to be independent directors, our compensation committee is not required to be composed entirely of independent directors and director nominations are not required to be made, or recommended to our full board of directors, by a nominations committee that consists entirely of independent directors. Therefore, our board of directors’ approach to governance may be different from that of a board of directors consisting of a majority of independent directors, and, as a result, the management oversight of our company may be more limited than if we were subject to all of the NYSE corporate governance standards. We are also subject to certain reduced disclosure obligations as a result of being a foreign private issuer. As such, investors will not have access to the same information as for similar companies that are not foreign private issuers.
In the event we no longer qualify as a foreign private issuer, we intend to rely on the “controlled company” exemption under the NYSE corporate governance rules. A “controlled company” under the NYSE corporate governance rules is a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by an individual, group or another company. Our extended founder team controls a majority of the combined voting power of our outstanding shares, making us a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE corporate governance rules. As a controlled company, we would be eligible to, and, in the event we no longer qualify as a foreign private issuer, we intend to, elect not to comply with certain requirements of the NYSE corporate governance standards, including (i) the requirement that a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors, (ii) the requirement that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors and (iii) the requirement that our director nominations be made, or recommended to our full board of directors, by a nominations committee that consists entirely of independent directors.
Accordingly, our shareholders will not have the same protection afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all of the NYSE corporate governance standards, and the ability of our independent directors to influence our business policies and affairs may be reduced.
(iii) Pricing volatility, dividends, and dilution
Future sales, or the perception of future sales of our Class A ordinary shares in the public market could cause the market price of our Class A ordinary shares to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of our Class A ordinary shares in the public market, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our Class A ordinary shares and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. Certain of our equity holders existing prior to our IPO have substantial unrecognized gains on the value of the equity they hold, and therefore they may take steps to sell their shares or otherwise secure the unrecognized gains on those shares. We are unable to predict the timing of or the effect that such sales may have on the prevailing market price of our Class A ordinary shares. All of the Class A ordinary shares are freely tradable without restrictions or further registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, except for any shares held by our affiliates as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act, or Rule 144.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future and, as a result, your ability to achieve a return on your investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our Class A ordinary shares.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our share capital, and we do not intend to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.
Any future proposals at our shareholders’ meeting to pay dividends in the future will be decided at the discretion of our board of directors, after taking into account various factors, including our business prospects, cash requirements, financial performance and new product development, and subject to approval at a general meeting of shareholders. In addition, payment of future dividends is
subject to certain limitations pursuant to Swiss law. See “Item 10. Additional Information - Memorandum and Articles of Association - Dividend Rights.” Accordingly, you may need to rely on sales of our Class A ordinary shares after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on your investment.
If securities analysts do not continue to publish research or reports about our business or if they publish negative evaluations of our Class A ordinary shares, the price of our Class A ordinary shares could decline.
The trading market for our Class A ordinary shares relies in part on the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts covering our business downgrade their evaluations of our Class A ordinary shares or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the price of our Class A ordinary shares could decline. In addition, if our operating results fail to meet analyst forecasts, the price of our Class A ordinary shares would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover our Class A ordinary shares, we could lose visibility in the market for our stock, which in turn could cause the price of our Class A ordinary shares to decline.
(iv) Swiss corporate law
We are a Swiss corporation. The rights of our shareholders may be different from the rights of shareholders in companies governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions.
We are a Swiss corporation. Our corporate affairs are governed by our articles of association and by the laws governing companies, including listed companies, incorporated in Switzerland. The rights of our shareholders and the responsibilities of members of our board of directors may be different from the rights and obligations of shareholders and directors of companies governed by the laws of the United States. In the performance of its duties, our board of directors is required by Swiss law to consider the interests of our Company, and may also have regard to the interests of our shareholders, our employees and other stakeholders, in all cases with due observation of the principles of reasonableness and fairness. It is possible that some of these parties will have interests that are different from, or in addition to, your interests as a shareholder. Swiss corporate law limits the ability of our shareholders to challenge in court resolutions made or other actions taken by our board of directors.
Under Swiss law, our shareholders generally are not permitted to file a suit to reverse a decision or an action taken by our board of directors, but are instead only permitted to seek damages for breaches of fiduciary duty. As a matter of Swiss law, shareholder claims against a member of our board of directors for breach of fiduciary duty would have to be brought in the competent courts in Zurich, Switzerland, or where the relevant member of our board of directors is domiciled. In addition, under Swiss law, any claims by our shareholders against us must be brought exclusively in the competent courts in Zurich, Switzerland. U.S.-style class actions and derivative actions are not available under Swiss law. A further summary of applicable Swiss corporate law is included in this Annual Report, see “Item 10. Additional Information - Memorandum and Articles of Association.” There can be no assurance that Swiss law will not change in the future, the occurrence of which could adversely affect the rights of our shareholders, or that Swiss law will protect our shareholders in a similar fashion as under U.S. corporate law principles.
On June 19, 2020, the Swiss Parliament approved legislation that will modernize certain aspects of Swiss corporate law. Most importantly, the legislative reform addresses, among other topics (i) the modernization and increased flexibility for a corporation's capital base, (ii) corporate governance and executive compensation matters, (iii) the strengthening of shareholder rights and the protection of minorities, (iv) measures related to financial distress and restructuring, and (v) certain socio-political topics, including gender representation and disclosure requirements for companies active in the raw
materials sector. Other than with respect to the new rules on gender representation and disclosure requirements for companies active in the raw materials sector, which, subject to transitional periods, entered into force on January 1, 2021, the effective date of the new legislation was January 1, 2023 (with certain transitional periods). There can be no assurance that Swiss law will not again change in the future, which could adversely affect the rights of our shareholders. See “Item 10. Additional Information - Memorandum and Articles of Association” for further information on these changes.
Our shares are not listed in Switzerland, our home jurisdiction. As a result, our shareholders will not benefit from certain provisions of Swiss law that are designed to protect shareholders in a public takeover offer or a change-of-control transaction.
Because our Class A ordinary shares are listed exclusively on the NYSE and not in Switzerland, our shareholders will not benefit from the protection afforded by certain provisions of Swiss law that are designed to protect shareholders in the event of a public takeover offer or a change-of-control transaction. For example, Article 120 of the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act and its implementing provisions require investors to disclose their interest in our company if they reach, exceed or fall below certain ownership thresholds. Similarly, the Swiss takeover regime imposes a duty on any person or group of persons who acquires more than one-third of a company’s voting rights to make a mandatory offer for all of the company’s outstanding listed equity securities. In addition, the Swiss takeover regime imposes certain restrictions and obligations on bidders in a voluntary public takeover offer that are designed to protect shareholders. However, these protections are applicable only to issuers that list their equity securities in Switzerland, and because our Class A ordinary shares are listed exclusively on the NYSE, they will not be applicable to us. Furthermore, since Swiss law restricts our ability to implement rights plans or U.S.-style “poison pills,” our ability to resist an unsolicited takeover attempt or to protect minority shareholders in the event of a change-of-control transaction may be limited. Therefore, our shareholders may not be protected to the same degree in a public takeover offer or a change-of-control transaction as are shareholders in a Swiss company listed in Switzerland.
Our status as a Swiss corporation means that our shareholders have certain rights that may limit our flexibility to raise capital, issue dividends and otherwise manage ongoing capital needs.
Swiss law reserves for approval by shareholders certain corporate actions over which a board of directors would have authority in certain other jurisdictions. For example, the payment of dividends and cancellation of treasury shares must be approved by shareholders. Swiss law also requires that our shareholders themselves resolve to, or authorize our board of directors to, increase our share capital. As of January 1, 2023, the concept of the “authorized capital” was replaced by a new concept called the “capital band” ("Kapitalband"). The new law allows for an increase and/or decrease of up to 50% of the share capital. For more information, please see “Item 10.B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Ordinary Capital Increase, Authorized and Conditional Share Capital.”
Shareholders outside of the United States may not be able to exercise preemptive rights in future issuances of equity or other securities that are convertible into equity.
Under Swiss corporate law, shareholders may receive certain preemptive rights to subscribe on a pro-rata basis for issuances of equity securities or other securities that are convertible into equity securities. Due to the laws and regulations in certain jurisdictions, however, shareholders who are not residents of the United States may not be able to exercise such rights unless the Company takes action to register or otherwise qualify the rights offering, including, for example, by complying with prospectus requirements under the laws of that jurisdiction. There can be no assurance that the Company will take any action to register or otherwise qualify an offering of subscription rights or shares under the laws of any jurisdiction other than the United States where the offering of such rights is restricted. If shareholders in such jurisdictions were unable to exercise their subscription rights, their ownership in the Company would be diluted.
U.S. shareholders may not be able to obtain judgments or enforce civil liabilities against us or our executive officers or our board of directors.
We are a corporation organized and incorporated under the laws of Switzerland with registered office and domicile in Zurich, Switzerland, and the majority of our assets are located within Switzerland. Moreover, a number of our directors and executive officers are not residents of the United States, and all or a substantial portion of the assets of such persons are or may be located outside the United States. As a result, investors may not be able to enforce judgments obtained against the Company or such persons in U.S. courts, including judgments in actions predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the federal securities laws of the United States. There is doubt that a lawsuit based upon United States federal or state securities laws could be brought in an original action in Switzerland and that a judgment of a U.S. court based upon United States securities laws would be enforced in Switzerland.
The United States and Switzerland currently do not have a treaty providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, other than arbitration awards, in civil and commercial matters. Consequently, a final judgment for payment given by a court in the United States, whether or not predicated solely upon U.S. securities laws, may not be enforceable in Switzerland.
ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY
A. History and Development of the Company
On AG was founded in Switzerland in 2010, and in 2012 On Holding AG, a limited company, was incorporated in accordance with Swiss law and became the ultimate holding company for the consolidated group. The Company's principle offices are located at Förrlibuckstrasse 190, 8005 Zurich, Switzerland (telephone +41 44 225 1555). Our agent for service of process in the United States is Cogency Global Inc. located at 122 East 42nd Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10168. Our website address is www.on.com. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this Annual Report on Form 20-F. Investors should not rely on any such information in deciding whether to purchase our Class A ordinary shares.
In 2021, On Holding AG became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"). Our reports filed with or furnished to the SEC are available, free of charge, on our investor relations website at https://investors.on-running.com/financials-and-filings/ as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The SEC maintains a website at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports and other information regarding us and other companies that file materials with the SEC electronically. We use our investor relations website as a means of disclosing material information. Accordingly, investors should monitor our investor relations website, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings, and public conference calls and webcasts.
As described elsewhere in this Annual Report, our principal capital expenditures since January 1, 2020 relate to the opening of offices, warehouses and retail stores in both Switzerland and globally as well as investments into our IT infrastructure, which has been funded from cash on hand as well as the proceeds from our IPO in 2021. During the third quarter of 2022, we also entered into a twelve-year (two-year ramp-up and 10-year duration) third party logistics and warehouse services agreement for a new, highly-automated fulfillment center in Atlanta (USA), that will partially commence in 2023, to facilitate our future omnichannel growth in North America and lower our handling costs over time through automation.
B. Business Overview
On was born in the Swiss Alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running by empowering all to run on clouds. Thirteen years after market launch, On delivers industry-disrupting innovation in premium footwear, apparel, and accessories for high-performance running, outdoor, and all-day activities. Fuelled by customer-recommendation, On’s award-winning CloudTec® innovation, purposeful design and ground-breaking strides in sportswear’s circular economy have attracted a fast-
growing global fan-base — inspiring humans to explore, discover and dream on. On is present in more than 60 countries globally and engages with a digital community on www.on.com.
We believe we are one of the fastest-growing scaled athletic sports companies in the world. For fiscal years 2022, 2021, and 2020 we generated net sales of CHF 1,222.1 million, CHF 724.6 million, and CHF 425.3 million, respectively, representing 68.7% and 70.4% year-over-year growth. As a Swiss company with a small home market, we opted to expand globally from the very beginning, and today we have a fast-growing presence across a number of international markets including, among others, Germany (first entered in 2011), the United States (2013), Japan (2013), China (2018) and Brazil (2018). We believe this global presence within the large global footwear and apparel market positions us well for future growth.
The following table presents net sales by region (based on the location of the customers):
|Fiscal year ended December 31,|
|(CHF in millions)||2022||2021||2020|
|Europe||354.3 ||260.4 ||187.5 |
|North America||738.5 ||409.5 ||208.1 |
|Asia-Pacific||80.2 ||42.7 ||23.0 |
|Rest of World||49.1 ||12.0 ||6.7 |
|Net Sales||1,222.1 ||724.6 ||425.3 |
The following table presents net sales by sales channels:
|Fiscal year ended December 31,|
|(CHF in millions)||2022||2021||2020|
|Wholesale||777.0 ||448.8 ||264.8 |
|Direct-to-Consumer||445.1 ||275.8 ||160.5 |
|Net sales||1,222.1 ||724.6 ||425.3 |
The following table presents net sales by product groups:
|Fiscal year ended December 31,|
|(CHF in millions)||2022||2021||2020|
|Shoes||1,167.5 ||683.3 ||406.4 |
|Apparel||47.3 ||36.3 ||15.8 |
|Accessories||7.4 ||5.0 ||3.2 |
|Net sales||1,222.1 ||724.6 ||425.3 |
Our Growth Strategies
We intend to deliver continued growth in net sales and profitability by executing on the following growth strategies:
Grow Brand Awareness and our Community
We believe that powerful consumer trends will continue to expand the global sportswear industry and that our differentiated product offering and appeal to our loyal community will drive increasing market share. We believe our brand is globally recognized today, and we have significant opportunities to further grow our brand awareness and expand the size and breadth of our community. While we have meaningfully grown internationally over the past decade, our unaided brand awareness outside of Switzerland remains below established sportswear peers, providing us with a clear runway ahead.
Authenticity gained through word of mouth, recommendations from athletes, influencers, tastemakers and a global community of runners and explorers has proven extremely valuable in organically and credibly growing the On brand. To further drive our brand’s awareness now and in the future, our marketing team will focus on the following strategies:
•Digital and social media: With a fast growing social presence fueled by storytelling, athletes and both physical and digital live events, we have the ability to drive brand affinity through a large audience. Our high share of voice shows that our engaged global community members are active within our channels and also promote On to their own audiences, sharing tips and offering advice to enhance the community experience.
•Athlete advocacy: There is no better validation for our products than professional athletes trusting our shoes in the most demanding settings. Olympians and World Champions in track and field embrace our products and proudly display them on the world stage. At the same time, our athletes create opportunities for core sporting storytelling that create public relations opportunities for cultural impact.
•Grassroots: The ‘Try On’ experience has proven a useful tool for us to show the benefit of our products and truth in our performance claims. With the community runs hosted at our retail stores and globally owned event series such as our upcoming 'On Track Nights', we are inviting thousands of broadly active runners to test and discover our brand. By further developing and adding new formats, we plan to reach and grow our community even further.
Our internal agency team collaborates across the business to ensure we are integrated directly into decision making for premium product storytelling, new innovative services, authentic community growth and shareable moments. At its heart, our marketing philosophy is simply to work with those who love our product, which we believe supports our high marketing efficiency and authenticity.
Leverage Innovation Leadership to Broaden Product Portfolio
We founded On with a view of making movement more effortless and comfortable. Since our founding in 2010, we have expanded our focus beyond runners and their shoes. Our innovation teams include Swiss engineered technology in our products that can be worn while running, exploring or simply during all-day activities. We believe we can leverage our expertise in running to improve the functionality of products in adjacent lifestyles, including fitness, everyday use, outdoors and most recently tennis, and to further broaden our product portfolio from footwear to apparel and accessories. While we expect to always be deeply rooted in running, consumers around the world have shown an interest in our other products, significantly increasing On’s total addressable market.
Expand our Geographic Footprint Through Controlled, Multi-channel Growth
We have experienced historical growth in almost all of our international markets and we believe we have opportunities for continued market share gains. While we have generated net losses in the past, we have consistently achieved significant net sales growth historically as we have entered new markets.
We believe that pioneering a true multi-channel strategy will ultimately lead to superior outcomes, lower cost of customer acquisition and higher customer retention and repeat purchases. Our wholesale and our DTC channels are mutually beneficial to each other because we strive to always put the customer first. We ask ourselves which customers we want to attract and what is the best and most efficient acquisition channel to deliver a superior experience to these customers. We then aim to deliver that superior experience wherever the customer decides to shop, whether online or in a physical store.
We intend to continue to grow our global footprint by tapping into new customer segments without compromising our premium customer experience across our wholesale and DTC channels:
•Wholesale channel expansion: We intend to take a measured approach to attract new customers and enter new markets through selected retail partners that are complementary to our brand. We started with the run specialty channel and then selectively expanded to additional premium retail partners to reach a broader audience, building on the initial momentum and brand halo gained by our presence in specialty stores.
•Additional doors: We believe there is significant room to enter additional premium doors in less mature but also in many of our established markets by tapping into new customer segments.
•Higher sales per door: We believe that by delivering a superior On brand experience at our wholesale partners (in an online and offline environment), we still have room to increase our sales per door. Furthermore, we aim to work with our partners in a very integrated way, including planning assortments and inventory and ensuring that we have the right product assortment in the corresponding channel for the respective consumer.
•DTC channel expansion: The second pillar to the multi-channel growth is our DTC channel, both digital and physical, which we believe enables greater consumer engagement and offers an optimal environment to showcase our brand. We believe that this customer experience will lead to a continued increased share of our DTC channel in the long term.
•Digital: We believe that we have ample opportunity to not only acquire new customers, but also drive repeat purchases. Knowing our customers and being able to provide them a superior experience over time is key. Historically, we have achieved growth in our digital channel thanks to our capability to achieve superior returns on our advertising spend. We will continue to strive for strong growth to further enhance our digital experience.
•Physical: We plan to selectively build physical stores to showcase our brand and products, which we believe will further strengthen our local community and brand reach. Our stores will be designed to create an enriching customer experience through technology and personalized customer service. We opened our first flagship retail location in New York City in 2020, and we continue to expand very selectively with flagship locations in key cities around the globe, adding for example Tokyo and Los Angeles in 2022. We believe retail stores will be a key growth pillar in China and we currently operate 13 owned retail stores located in Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Beijing. We target premium shopping locations in major cities where we are able to directly connect with customers who we believe will connect with On.
Continue to Drive Operational Excellence
As we scale our business, we plan to continue leveraging our brand and powerful business model to drive operational efficiencies and improved financial and operating performance by:
•Strong channel profitability and mix. We intend to expand our DTC channel in high-value markets that can support the profitable rollout of e-commerce and select retail stores. We believe this will allow us to maintain our high levels of gross margin in our e-commerce-led DTC channel.
•Conversion of distributor markets. As we grow, we expect to transition some of our distributor markets to a direct retail distribution system, which will allow us to more efficiently and profoundly influence the customer experience.
•Operating leverage. We have invested ahead of our growth in all areas of the business and have built highly scalable business processes, including design and manufacturing, multi-channel distribution and corporate infrastructure. As we continue our growth trajectory, On expects to realize economies of scale. At the same time, On will continue to invest into all areas of the business as part of our geographical and product expansion.
Looking toward the future, we believe that these initiatives will provide a robust foundation for growth and position us to continue capturing market share.
All our products are engineered in Switzerland, and our in-house research and development teams work on the innovation, engineering, design, development and testing of our products. Our shoe, apparel and accessories products are designed primarily for specific athletic use, although a significant amount of our products are also adopted for casual or leisure purposes. We place considerable emphasis on technological innovation for performance, including our proprietary CloudTec, Helion superfoam and Speedboard technologies, and high-quality construction in the development and design of our footwear and apparel. Our focus is on sourcing renewable raw materials. Our products use sustainable materials such as recycled polyesters and polyamide, organic cotton, vegan leather and PFAS-free membranes. Our sustainability focus is showcased through our subscription model Cyclon, and specifically the 100% recyclable Cloudneo shoe, made with over 50% bio-based material derived from castor beans. Cyclon products are only available through an innovative monthly subscription model whereby the product is returned at the end of the subscription and recycled. Through its ground-breaking design and subscription model, the Cloudneo won the 2021 ISPO Award for Product of the Year and Sustainability Achievement. Our general categories of footwear include:
Our performance apparel and accessories cover the above-mentioned categories and are sold predominantly through the same marketing and distribution channels as our athletic footwear. Our apparel and accessories, similar to our footwear, are designed primarily for athletic use and also demonstrate our commitment to performance innovation and high-quality construction.
Sourcing and manufacturing
We do not own or operate any manufacturing facilities, and all of our products are supplied by third parties. We work with a selected group of approximately 22 suppliers, five of which produced approximately 70% of our products in 2022. All of our footwear was produced by eight suppliers across 12 different production sites, of which eleven are in Vietnam and one in Indonesia. Our apparel and accessories were sourced from 14 different suppliers across various countries including China, Vietnam, Germany, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Turkey.
In order to mitigate supplier concentration risks, we continuously seek out alternative suppliers and manufacturers when possible and develop contingency plans for responding to disruptions. For key shoe models, like the Cloud, we use at least two suppliers to minimize supply risk and to promote competition among suppliers on the basis of cost and quality. In 2021 and 2022, we experienced temporary disruptions in our supply chain as a result of COVID-19. Refer to "Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects" and "Item 3. Key Information - Risk Factors" for further information.
We purchase from our primary suppliers on a purchase order basis informed by capacity forecasts we prepare, and have non-exclusive purchase commitments based on our purchase orders for certain amounts of goods, work-in-progress and components. We measure supplier performance through various performance indicators, including on-time delivery, quality, sustainability and other criteria, on a monthly basis. Suppliers are categorized according to their skills and capabilities, and we allocate products and volume based on their business performance and capabilities. Under our supplier agreements, our suppliers must follow our established product design specifications and quality assurance programs to meet our demanding production standards. Production and quality control staff in each country from which we source products monitor manufacturing at supplier facilities in order to correct any issues prior to shipment of the final product. We require all suppliers who manufacture our products to comply with our Supplier Code of Conduct relating to working conditions as well as certain environmental, employment and sourcing practices. We have worked to develop preferred relationships with our partners, where possible, to maintain access to the resources needed to scale seasonally and ensure our partners have the requisite experience to produce our footwear, apparel and accessories.
Multi-Channel Distribution Network
We sell our products through our wholesale and DTC channels. In 2022 and 2021 our wholesale channel accounted for 63.6% and 61.9% of our net sales, respectively and our DTC channel contributed 36.4% and 38.1% of our net sales, respectively. Retail partners are carefully selected across the wholesale channels (including select third-party online only platforms), based on their compatibility with our premium brand, positioning in the market and industry expertise. Within DTC, we limit distribution exclusively to our own e-commerce website as well as our owned and operated retail stores. Within China, we also consider our distribution through Tmall and JD.com as DTC.
Direct-to-Consumer. We operate an e-commerce-led DTC channel, which has grown rapidly since its launch in 2012. Our online store features our full product offering and grants us the ability to build valuable intelligence through a direct conversation with our customers. We rolled out our e-commerce platform in Europe and the United States in 2012 and 2013, respectively, in conjunction with developing our own teams on the ground to manage our wholesale channel. Due to the flexible nature of e-commerce, we are now able to sell products via the e-commerce platform in over 60 countries around the world. While our e-commerce platform is rapidly gaining penetration globally, the European and the U.S. online stores are our largest markets and together, contributed 90% of our total DTC net sales in 2022. E-commerce also allows us to introduce specific innovations. For example, Cloudneo, our first 100% recyclable shoe which is only available through a monthly subscription model that enables our customers to rent the shoe on a month-by-month basis. The Cloudneo is based on a circular subscription model called Cyclon, through which customers never own footwear, but rather use them until they need a new pair, at which point they can return used footwear to us and receive a new pair. The entire program management of this product is administered through our online platform.
Our e-commerce rollout is complemented by our own retail stores in premium high-traffic locations. We opened our first retail flagship store in New York City in 2020. We also own retail stores in Portland, Tokyo, Zurich, and Los Angeles. We opened our first smaller format, mall-based store in China in December 2019 and have since then opened over a dozen, smaller format stores in China. Going forward, we plan to open a limited number of additional retail flagship stores in other major metropolitan centers as well as athletic destinations where we believe they can operate profitably and create further brand momentum. This unfiltered window into our brand will allow us to develop a closer relationship with our customers through exclusive experiences, feature our full product offering, retain pricing control and drive net sales growth across both channels.
Wholesale. Building on the expertise of third parties, the wholesale channel allows us to enter and develop new and existing markets, build and maintain leading positions within our geographies and support digital marketing investments to strengthen the DTC channel. We utilize a controlled wholesale channel expansion approach, which entails entering a particular market through selected specialty running retailers and then expanding to other partners with more generalist capabilities that reach a wider community while still maintaining our brand message, ethos and premium quality. As part of this
approach, we develop strategic and long-term relationships directly with retailers and distributors and work with a select set of partners who respect our heritage, share our values and strengthen our market presence. Our wholesale distribution includes a mix of specialty, sporting goods, outdoor, luxury and street fashion retailers, with varying shares between their online and offline sales. We leverage our mutually beneficial relationships to receive prime placement within their stores, showcase a relevant product offering and establish On shops-in-shops to deliver the best possible customer experience. Careful planning with our wholesale network helps us manage inventory effectively and achieve high levels of full-price sell-through.
Competition in the shoe, apparel and accessories industry is principally on the basis of brand image and recognition, product quality, innovation, design, sustainability, distribution and price. We believe that we successfully compete on the basis of our premium brand image, our focus on running and our technical product innovation. We are also differentiated by our commitment to community-based grassroots marketing which allows us to increase brand awareness and strengthen customer loyalty.
The market for performance shoes, apparel and accessories is highly competitive and fragmented. It includes increasing competition from established companies who are expanding their production and marketing of performance products, as well as from frequent new entrants to the market. We are in direct competition with wholesalers and direct sellers of athletic footwear and apparel, such as Nike, Inc., Adidas AG, which includes the Adidas and Reebok brands, and Under Armour, Inc., Brooks Sports Inc., Hoka One One (Deckers Outdoor Corporation), Asics, New Balance, Lululemon, Patagonia, Arcteryx, Anta Group and Li Ning. We believe that having been able to break into the competitive set of top 5 running brands in the biggest running markets the United States, Germany and Japan provides a platform for future growth and positions us well against certain of our competitors.
Our long-term commercial success is connected to our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our brand, products and technology, defend and enforce our intellectual property rights, preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets, operate our business without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property or proprietary rights of third parties and prevent third parties from infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our intellectual property rights. We seek to protect our investments made into the development of our products, technology, brand and design by relying on a combination of trademarks, patents, designs, copyrights, trade secrets, know-how, non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality agreements, invention assignment agreements, development agreements and other contractual rights.
We use registered trademarks on nearly all of our products and believe having distinctive marks that are readily identifiable is an important factor in creating a market for our goods, in identifying our brands, and in distinguishing our goods from the goods of others. As of December 31, 2022, we own approximately 504 trademark registrations in 46 different jurisdictions. We consider On, the On logo, On Running, Cyclon, Cloudtec, Cloud and the Cloud logo to be among our most valuable assets. The current registrations of these trademarks are effective for varying periods of time and may be renewed periodically, provided that we, as the registered owner, comply with all applicable renewal requirements including, where necessary, the continued use of the trademarks in connection with similar goods and services.
We file for, own and maintain numerous U.S. and foreign utility and design patents relating to components, technologies, materials, features, functionality, and industrial and aesthetic designs used in and for the manufacture of various of our products. Assuming payment of all appropriate maintenance, renewal, annuity or other governmental fees, these issued patents and utility models, and any patents granted from such applications, if issued, are expected to expire between 2023 and 2042, without taking potential patent term extensions or adjustments into account. We continually review our development
efforts to assess the existence and patentability of new intellectual property. The term of individual patents depends upon the legal term for patents in the countries in which they are granted. In most countries, including the United States, the patent term is 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date of a non-provisional patent application in the applicable country. In the United States, a patent’s term may, in certain cases, be lengthened by patent term adjustment, which compensates a patentee for administrative delays by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in examining and granting a patent. It may also be shortened if a patent is terminally disclaimed over a commonly owned patent or a patent naming a common inventor and having an earlier expiration date. We cannot be sure that our pending patent applications that we have filed or may file in the future will result in issued patents in any jurisdiction, and we can give no assurance that any patents that have been issued or might be issued in the future will protect our current or future products, will provide us with any competitive advantage, and will not be challenged, invalidated, or circumvented.
Moreover, we rely, in part, on trade secrets to protect aspects of our business that are not amenable to, or that we do not consider appropriate for, patent protection. However, trade secrets can be difficult to protect. While we take steps to protect and preserve our trade secrets and our know-how, unpatented technology and other proprietary information, including by entering into intellectual property assignment agreements, non-compete agreements and confidentiality agreements and by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems, such measures can be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any such breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors. As a result, we may not be able to meaningfully protect our trade secrets. For more information regarding the risks related to our intellectual property, please see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property and Information Technology.”
Prior to the fourth quarter of 2021 we experienced higher net sales in the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year compared to other quarters. This was due in large part to the phasing of our product seasons, with spring-summer season going from November to May and fall-winter season going from July to October, as well as seasonal holiday demand. Beginning in January 2022 we introduced new product seasons with spring-summer season going from January to June and fall-winter season going from July to December. As a result of the introduction of the new product seasons, we launched our spring-summer product season in January 2022 instead of November 2021.
Our business activities are global and are subject to various federal, cantonal, local, and foreign laws, rules and regulations. For example, substantially all of our import operations are subject to complex trade and customs laws, regulations and tax requirements such as sanctions orders or tariffs set by governments through mutual agreements or unilateral actions. In addition, the countries in which our products are manufactured or imported may from time to time impose additional duties, tariffs or other restrictions on our imports or adversely modify existing restrictions. Changes in tax policy or trade regulations, or the imposition of new tariffs on imported products, could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Compliance with these laws, rules and regulations has not had, and is not expected to have, a material effect on our capital expenditures, results of operations and competitive position as compared to prior periods, and we do not currently anticipate material capital expenditures for environmental control facilities. For more information on the potential impacts of government regulations affecting our business, see "Item 3D—Risk Factors".
C. Organizational Structure
The following chart reflects our simplified organizational structure presenting main legal entities which are, directly or indirectly, 100% owned by On Holding AG (including the jurisdiction of formation or incorporation of the various entities).
D. Property, Plants and Equipment
Our tangible fixed assets mainly comprise of trade and production tools, leasehold improvements in own retail locations and global corporate offices. We generally enter into long-term leases for our main facilities such as offices, warehouses and retail locations listed in the below table, which we believe are in good condition and working order.
|No. of |
|Principal activity||Total square |
meters in each city
|Range of lease |
|Zurich, Switzerland||3||Corporate Headquarters / Innovation Lab||19,533||Dec.31, 2031 - Dec.31, 2035|
|Contern, Luxembourg||1||Warehouse||6,000||September 30, 2030|
|Atlanta, USA||1||Warehouse||44,075||December 31, 2024|
|Portland, USA||1||Regional Office||5,330||October 31, 2029|
|New York, USA||2||Retail location / Showroom||481||Apr. 30, 2023 - Aug. 30, 2030|
|Los Angeles, USA||1||Retail location / Showroom||317||September 30, 2032|
|Miami, USA||1||Retail location / Showroom||408||July 4, 2032|
|Colorado, USA||1||Other||149||December 31, 2024|
|Vancouver, Canada||1||Regional Office||109||April 30, 2025|
|Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam||1||Regional Office||547||May 31, 2026|
|Melbourne, Australia||2||Regional Office||615||Dec.30, 2026 - Mar.31, 2027|
|São Paolo, Brazil||1||Regional Office||300||July 15, 2024|
|Shanghai, China||2||Regional Office||1,557||December 31, 2024|
|Beijing, China||3||Retail location / Showroom||343||Jul.1, 2023 - Aug.31, 2025|
|Chengdu, China||1||Retail location / Showroom||146||September 23, 2024|
|Shanghai, China||6||Retail location / Showroom||576||Oct.8, 2023 - Aug.25, 2025|
|Shenzen, China||3||Retail location / Showroom||323||Aug.31, 2024 - Dec.10, 2025|
|Yokohama, Japan||1||Regional Office||480||April 14, 2025|
|Tokyo, Japan||1||Retail location / Showroom||637||April 30, 2027|
|Berlin, Germany||1||Regional Office||2,569||January 31, 2031|
|London, UK||1||Retail location / Showroom||850||July 18, 2032|
|Leusen, Netherlands||1||Showroom||119||December 31, 2023|
|Salzburg, Austria||1||Showroom||233||September 30, 2024|
|Düsseldorf, Germany||1||Showroom||137||December 31, 2024|
|Barcelona, Spain||1||Showroom||185||March 30, 2030|
|Annecy, France||1||Showroom||150||July 31, 2030|
Further to the above, we plan to expand our warehouse capabilities in Atlanta, USA to facilitate our future omnichannel growth in North America and lower our handling cost over time through warehouse automation. As such, in the third quarter of 2022 On entered into a twelve-year (two-year ramp-up and 10-year duration) third party logistics and warehouse services lease agreement. This agreement will expand On's warehouse space by 95,274 square meters, with 47,637 square meters expected to be ready for use in July 2023 and another 47,637 square meters expected to be ready for use in July 2025, and will include a highly automated warehouse solution. As a result of this agreement, in 2025, On will
move its full warehouse operation in Atlanta, USA to this 95,274 square meter highly automated site and will decommission the current Atlanta, USA warehouse location of 44,075 square meters.
ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS
The following discussion on our operating and financial review and prospects should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements, including the notes thereto, included elsewhere in this Annual Report (see “Item 18. Financial Statements”).
This discussion and analysis and other parts of this Annual Report contain forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, strategy, estimates and current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of several factors that could cause or contribute to these differences including, but not limited to those discussed below and elsewhere in this Annual Report, particularly in the sections titled “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” The audited consolidated financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 were prepared in accordance with IFRS, as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and presented in Swiss Francs (CHF). For a comparative discussion and analysis related to the results of operations and changes in financial condition for financial years 2021 compared to 2020 refer to “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2021, filed on March 18, 2022, with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov.
A. Operating Results
On is a premium performance sports brand rooted in technology, design and sustainability that has built a passionate global community of fans across more than 60 countries. We focus on providing a premium product experience to customers wherever they are and our brand resonates with our loyal customers around the world.
We believe our Swiss heritage and our focus on innovating at the cutting edge of performance, design and sustainability differentiates us from other sports brands. We are committed to creating premium products that deliver strong performance. Our relentless culture of innovation has driven us to repeatedly introduce numerous groundbreaking technologies that are designed to change the experience of running and create continuous excitement for our fans as we bring new products to market. Building off our heritage of supporting the runner, we have applied our expertise to creating performance products for a broader set of global consumers who use them in everyday life, expanding our product range beyond Performance Running to Performance Outdoor and Performance All Day.
On operates as a single-brand consumer products business and therefore has a single reportable segment. In 2022, we focused on the following growth strategies: i) growing overall brand awareness and our community; ii) leveraging innovation leadership to broaden our product portfolio, iii) expanding geographic footprint through controlled, multi-channel growth; and iv) driving operational efficiencies to improve overall financial and operating performance (see “Item 4 — Information on the Company — Business Overview”).
On successfully executed on its growth strategies and increased net sales for 2022 by 68.7% to CHF 1,222.1 million compared to 2021. This growth was driven by increased consumer demand for our brand across all sales channels, product categories and geographic regions.
We continued to expand our wholesale channel beyond specialty running stores. Our products are now available in some of the most reputable general sporting, outdoor, fashion and lifestyle retailers in the world and in a total of approximately 9,232 retail stores across our direct markets. We continued to intensify and expand our collaboration with global key accounts, including Foot Locker, JD Sports, Nordstrom, and Dicks Sporting Goods. The wholesale channel accounted for 63.6% of net sales in 2022.
With our community and brand awareness growing globally, we have continued to organically scale our DTC channel through e-commerce, even at the elevated level that this channel had reached during the COVID-19 pandemic. During 2022 we continued to expand our own-retail footprint, opening flagship stores in Tokyo, Los Angeles and in our home, Zurich. Our DTC channel as a whole, which includes our e-commerce sites, 13 retail stores in China, and five retail stores in Europe, United States, and Japan, represented 36.4% of net sales in 2022.
On continued to innovate and introduced new products in 2022 which included various groundbreaking technologies designed to change the experience of running and create continuous excitement for consumers. This included new proprietary CloudTec, Helion superfoam and Speedboard technologies as well as the launch of our first fully-circular shoe Cloudneo, the first product sold through our ground-breaking Cyclon subscription program.
The evolution and expansion of our product assortment has contributed meaningfully to our net sales growth, with new blockbuster running products such as the Cloudmonster, Cloudrunner and Cloudgo, as well as the new trail running shoes, Cloudvista and Cloudwander. The Cloudnova continues to resonate with younger customers. Our extended apparel line is generating excitement and brings new fans to the On brand across all regions. The launch of the 5th generation of our iconic Cloud also contributed our sales growth in 2022.
Key Financial Highlights
Key highlights for fiscal year 2022 compared to fiscal year 2021 included:
•net sales increased 68.7% to CHF 1,222.1 million;
•net sales through the DTC sales channel increased 61.4% to CHF 445.1 million;
•net sales through the wholesale sales channel increased 73.1% to CHF 777.0 million;
•net sales in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific and Rest of World increased 36.1% to CHF 354.3 million, 80.3% to CHF 738.5 million, 87.7% to CHF 80.2 million and 310.5% to CHF 49.1 million, respectively;
•net sales from shoes, apparel and accessories increased 70.9% to CHF 1,167.5 million, 30.2% to CHF 47.3 million and 48.3% to CHF 7.4 million, respectively;
•gross profit increased 59.2% to CHF 684.9 million;
•gross profit margin decreased from 59.4% to 56.0%;
•net income increased to CHF 57.7 million from a net loss of CHF (170.2) million;
•net income / (loss) margin changed to 4.7% from (23.5)%;
•basic earnings per share (“EPS”) Class A (CHF) increased to 0.18 from (0.59);
•diluted EPS Class A (CHF) increased to 0.18 from (0.59);
•adjusted EBITDA increased 71.4% to CHF 165.3 million;
•adjusted EBITDA margin increased from 13.3% to 13.5%;
•adjusted net income increased to CHF 90.6 million from CHF 31.1 million;
•adjusted basic EPS Class A (CHF) increased to 0.29 from 0.11; and
•adjusted diluted EPS Class A (CHF) increased to 0.28 from 0.11.
Key highlights as of December 31, 2022 compared to December 31, 2021 included:
•cash and cash equivalents decreased 43.2% to CHF 371.0 million; and
•net working capital was CHF 459.2 million which reflects an increase of 144.9%.
Adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted net income, adjusted basic EPS, adjusted diluted EPS and net working capital are non-IFRS measures used by us to evaluate our performance. Furthermore, we believe adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted net income, adjusted basic EPS, adjusted diluted EPS and net working capital measures enhance investor understanding of our financial and operating performance from period to period because they enhance the comparability of results between each period, help identify trends in operating results and provide additional insight and transparency on how management evaluates the business. Adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted net income, adjusted basic EPS, adjusted diluted EPS and net working capital should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for other financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with IFRS. For a detailed description and a reconciliation to the nearest IFRS measure, see the section below titled “Non-IFRS Measures”.
Update on COVID-19
Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on protecting our people, safeguarding our supply chain, responding to new patterns of demand and intensifying partnerships with our customers.
In a continuation of the trend during the third quarter of 2022, the impact to production and distribution due to COVID-19 was minimal during the fourth quarter of 2022. During previous quarters, we successfully applied several measures to counteract supply chain disruptions, including i) leveraging inventories on hand to fulfill sales; ii) optimizing different product styles within inventories to match sales orders; and iii) increasing our use of airfreight to balance production against strong demand and secure key product availabilities. As a result, the normalization of supply and significant reduction in the use of airfreight that we already saw during the third quarter of 2022, was successfully maintained during the fourth quarter of 2022, and we resumed the use of sea freight for the vast majority of our shipments.
Additionally, the global supply chain challenges in the form of inflationary cost pressures (as described further below under the section titled "Cost Inflation") on labor and freight caused by COVID-19 has impacted and continues to impact our financial performance. Even though global freight market disruptions somewhat stabilized towards the end of 2022, we observed a certain volatility when it comes to freight rates that impacted our full year 2022 results. Any disruptions across international supply chains, including factory closures, port congestion, labor shortages and increased logistics costs, may materially impact our net sales, net income and adjusted EBITDA outlook for 2023.
Summary of Financial Performance
The following table summarizes certain key operating measures for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, and for the three-month periods ended December 31, 2022 and 2021. See “—Results of Operations” for additional details and for the comparison discussions between the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 (audited) and the three-month periods ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 (unaudited).
|Fiscal year ended December 31,||Three-month period ended December 31,|
|(CHF in millions)||2022||2021||2020||2022||2021|
|Net sales||1,222.1 ||724.6 ||425.3 ||366.8 ||191.1 |
|Gross profit||684.9 ||430.3 ||231.1 ||214.6 ||111.8 |
|Operating result||85.1 ||(141.1)||(17.1)||14.7 ||(177.5)|
|Net income / (loss)||57.7 ||(170.2)||(27.5)||(26.4)||(187.0)|
|Net income / (loss) margin||4.7 ||%||(23.5)||%||(6.5)||%||(7.2)||%||(97.8)||%|
|Basic EPS Class A (CHF)||0.18 ||(0.59)||(0.10)||(0.08)||(0.60)|
|Diluted EPS Class A (CHF)||0.18 ||(0.59)||(0.10)||(0.08)||(0.60)|