Luxury fashion house Chanel reveals it’s a match for Louis Vuitton

Luxury fashion house Chanel has released trading figures for the first time in its 108-year history.

Total sales for last year were US$9.62 billion, up 11 per cent from the previous year on a constant-currency basis. Asia-Pacific and Chanel’s home market, Europe, were the primary drivers of the growth. Operating profit reached $2.69 billion.

The New York Times said the results prove Chanel is among the largest luxury brands in the world based on sales, ahead of Gucci ($7.1 billion in sales last year) and on a par with Louis Vuitton (analysts estimate between $9.3 billion and $11.6 billion). Chanel’s sales growth is strong, the company is boosting investment and has a net debt level of just $18 million.

“The announcements are, however, more important for their symbolism,” observed the NYT.

“At a time of heightened competition in high-end retail and of persistent rumors that Chanel could be a takeover target, the storied French fashion house said it had opened up its books to show that it had the size, and the willingness, to fend off any approaches.”

Chanel’s CFO Philippe Blondiaux said that even though the company is privately owned and had no need to release financial figures, it wanted to demonstrate to the market how strong it was when there was speculation about a takeover bid.  

“We realised it was time to put the facts on the table as to exactly who we are: a $10 billion company with very strong financials, plus all the means and ammunition at our disposal to remain independent,” Blondiaux said.

Chanel also plans to restructure its operations, bringing all division under the one umbrella and adopting the new name Chanel Limited.

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