Asia leads Samsonite sales boom

Asia led a global sales boom for luggage specialist Samsonite last year.

Samsonite Group’s net sales in Asia soared 16.1 per cent to US$892.3 million in the year to December 31. Excluding foreign currency effects, net sales increased by 18 per cent.

Samsonite Group worldwide posted double-digit growth in both net sales and adjusted EBITDA for the fifth year running in 2014. Net sales rose 17.3 per cent to a record US$2.3517 billion with strong growth across all regions.

The group attributed its success in Asia to a continued focus on country-specific product and marketing strategies to drive increased awareness of and demand for its products. It expanded its range and increased the number of point of sale region-wide.

Sales of the American Tourister brand accounted for 43.2 per cent of the increase in net sales in Asia. The Samsonite Red sub-brand in the group’s casual category, which was first launched in South Korea in 2010 and is aimed at young fashion-conscious consumers, continued to be popular, with net sales increasing by 91.9 per cent on a constant currency basis to US$57.9 million in 2014.

On the back of the success of American Tourister, Samsonite and Samsonite Red, China continued to lead in terms of sales and performance, contributing 25.5 per cent of the region’s net sales and recording 18.4 per cent year-on-year net sales growth, or 18.7 per cent on a constant currency basis, despite a slowing economy which affected consumer spending.

Japan posted strong constant currency net sales gains of 32.3 per cent, driven by the Samsonite brand and the Gregory acquisition.

South Korea, with constant currency net sales up 12.8 per cent year-on-year, continued to experience robust sales growth driven by American Tourister and Samsonite Red, while India and Hong Kong posted healthy constant currency net sales gains of 19.9 per cent and 12.2 per cent, respectively.

Direct retail

Over 300 points of sale were added in Asia during 2014, including 41 net new company operated retail locations, taking the total to more than 7200 points of sale.

Samsonite’s direct retail sales accounted for 20.2 per cent of its global sales, with the 79.4 per cent balance wholesale to retailers.

Excluding foreign currency effects, net sales in the wholesale channel increased year-on-year by 17.2 per cent, while net sales in the retail channel increased by 18.3 per cent. On a same store, constant currency basis, net sales in the retail channel increased by 7.9 per cent.

Direct to consumer eCommerce sales accounted for 6.6 per cent of the group’s net sales in 2104, compared to 5.6 per cent the previous year.

The group expanded its points of sale by approximately 3600 during the year to a total of over 49,000 points of sale in over 100 countries.

In February this year, the group acquired Rolling Luggage, further expanding its retail footprint and adding some of the world’s leading airports to its network.

CEO Ramesh Tainwala said 2014 saw Samsonite pushing for a more balanced channel mix.

“We are integrating both online and offline distribution to create an omni-channel presence that will strengthen our engagement with consumers, increase visibility for our products and drive sales. Given the explosive growth in online retail, we believe eCommerce will be a new driver of profitable growth for our business and will be the way in which many of our newer and younger customers experience our brands.

“As for bricks-and-mortar, we are aggressively expanding our own retail footprint around the world, including in airports under the Rolling Luggage name as well as through opening multi-brand bag and luggage specialty stores under the JS Trunk & Co name.

“We believe an omni-channel model has the potential to grow the proportion of retail sales from around 20 per cent of our net sales in 2014 to perhaps as much as 50 per cent over the medium term.”



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