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Fashion giant Kering’s chief hails “dazzling” performance

Fashion giant Kering’s decision to focus the business on luxury appears to be paying off.

In what chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault termed “dazzling top-line and earnings performances” during the first half year, total revenue rose 33.9 per cent on a comparable basis and operating margin rose above 30 per cent for the first time in the company’s history.

Kering sales in Asia rose by 37.6 per cent, excluding Japan, where sales rose by 30.7 per cent. That growth rate lagged the US, (up 45.4 per cent) but was well ahead of Kering’s home European market’s 25.1 per cent. Online sales more than doubled.

While the growth occurred across most of the company’s brand portfolio, Gucci clearly led the way with sales up 44.1 per cent on a comp basis and margin from recurring operations reaching 38.2 per cent. Yves Saint Laurent sales rose 19.7 per cent.

Revenue from Bottega Veneta was stagnant, up just 0.9 per cent, but all the other houses collectively rose by 36.5 per cent, led by Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.

First-half year consolidated revenue was €6.432 billion, up by 26.8 per cent before taking into account exchange rate influences and changes to the group structure. A year earlier, Kering’s portfolio included sportswear label Puma, a majority stake of which has since been spun off.

Net income rose 185.7 per cent to €2.36 billion, although just over half of that was a capital gain resulting from the sell-down of Kering’s Puma stake.

Pinault said Kering’s growth was “grounded in the exclusivity and desirability of our brands”.

“The development model we implement across our houses paves the way for increased value creation as well as profitable, sustained and consistent organic growth. While facing increasingly demanding comps and an uncertain global environment, we will once again substantially enhance our financial and operating performances in 2018.”

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