We look back on 2018 as another very successful year. Thanks to a sharp focus on our consumers’ needs as part of our stringent implementation of our ‘Creating the New’ strategy, the company was once again able to increase sales and achieve strong bottom-line growth in the 2018 financial year. Innovative products and impressive marketing campaigns such as for the FIFA World Cup in Russia strengthened the presence of our brands and brand desire. We were able to generate double-digit growth rates in our focus markets North America and China as well as in the important e-commerce channel. At the same time, we tackled company-specific weaknesses in our home market Europe, and negative macroeconomic factors in large parts of the world were effectively offset. Despite investments in our brands, which increased significantly in the last year and were higher than ever before, as well in the scalability of the company, we generated profitability results which surpassed the targets set at the beginning of the year. This reflects both the quality and sustainability of our growth and places our company in a position to continue to grow profitably in the future. In the last year, we duly shared the company's success with our shareholders, as underscored by the total dividend payout and share buyback of more than € 1.5 billion in 2018, and we intend to continue to do so.
Read the full report of our Supervisory Board in our 2018 Annual Report > Supervisory Board Report (Page 28)