By  on April 20, 2007

MILAN — Swift sales of accessories, jewelry and beauty products propelled another year of double-digit profit growth at Giorgio Armani SpA.

Armani said Thursday that its full-year 2006 earnings before interest and taxes rose 19 percent to 246 million euros, or $310 million. Consolidated sales grew 9 percent to 1.47 billion euros, or $1.85 billion, for the year ended Dec. 31.

Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.

The company also issued an upbeat forecast for the current year, touting 9 percent growth in wholesale orders for the group's fall-winter 2007-2008 collections. Armani said it is on track to post "significant" growth in revenue and profitability this year.

Despite that rosy outlook and the fact that the company just converted its bookkeeping to international accounting standards, a Giorgio Armani initial public offering isn't in the works. In fact, the 72-year-old designer told WWD he doesn't feel rushed to decide anything regarding the fate of his empire, which values its worldwide retail sales at more than 5 billion euros, or $6.8 billion.

"I am aware of all the options that are open to us, but see no immediate need to make any such decisions," Giorgio Armani, the company's president and chief executive officer, told WWD. "The Armani Group as an independent company has successfully created its own business and brand model, which is now generating significant growth and profitability year-on-year."

The designer added his company has "more than sufficient liquidity" to fund its expansion independently.

"Regarding our future potential growth, the Armani brand has a remarkable resonance around the world, which we are now just beginning to capitalize upon with our expansion into new and emerging markets, the rollout of our lifestyle brands such as A|X Armani Exchange, product diversification including home interiors, hotels and skin care and product expansion with the accessories," he said. "We are not short on ideas or opportunities, so there is significant scope for our continued expansion."

Armani's 2006 accounts echo a positive trend for the luxury goods business as a whole, said Gian Luca Pacini, an analyst with Intesa Sanpaolo in Milan.

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