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Marzotto Sales Dip, Adding Two Licenses

MILAN — Marzotto, owner of Valentino, said it will announce the partners for two licensing agreements with the venerable house by the end of the month.<br><br>The company made the disclosure Monday at a presentation of its nine-month sales...

MILAN — Marzotto, owner of Valentino, said it will announce the partners for two licensing agreements with the venerable house by the end of the month.

The company made the disclosure Monday at a presentation of its nine-month sales results, which fell 3.1 percent to $1.37 billion (converted from euros at the current exchange rate).

Michele Norsa, chief executive of Valentino and general manager of Marzotto’s apparel division, said Valentino will launch a youth-oriented sportswear line next fall and an upscale watch collection in the spring.

Industry sources here say SINV Holding — licensee for the labels Voyage Passion, See by Chloé, JPG Jean Paul Gaultier Jeans, Krizia Jeans and Gabriele Strehle Jeans — and Sector are two likely candidates for the youth and watch licenses, respectively.

Enrico Ceccato, chief executive officer of Sector, confirmed that his company is in talks with Valentino about a watch line but no deal has been struck. Sector, which wants to broaden its brand portfolio, is in talks with several fashion companies, including Gianfranco Ferré and Benetton. But Ceccato said the watch group can probably only take on one new license, and a decision should be made over the next month.

Francesco Dalla Rovere, a board member of SINV, said there is no imminent agreement for a Valentino line with Marzotto. He wouldn’t rule out some sort of collaboration with Valentino in the future, but said the company is concentrating on its new DKNY jeans license for Europe.

Meanwhile, industry sources confirmed that Marzotto had also contacted Renzo Rosso’s Veneto-based Staff International for the Valentino diffusion license. A source close to Staff, however, said nothing had developed and discussions are not taking place between the two companies.

Norsa declined to comment directly on the state of the designer Valentino’s contract, which expires next year, but Norsa reiterated the pivotal role of the designer. Norsa said a Valentino boutique will open in Las Vegas on Nov. 1.

During the presentation, Antonio Favrin, vice president and chief executive officer of Marzotto, presented a new wool textile plan, whereby the company plans to exit the basic and low-price product range and focus on higher-quality products.

In addition, Marzotto will reduce its industrial structures in Italy and complete the process of relocating production outside the country, a plan initiated in the Nineties. In recent years, Marzotto has focused on its fashion division, which currently accounts for 80 percent of sales, compared to a 20 percent share of the textile sector. To help sustain investments, Favrin said he plans a real estate spin-off valued at around $60 million.