By  on February 19, 2013

MILAN — Prada Group clocked in another strong year, posting a 29 percent gain in revenues in 2012.

Lifted by a vigorous performance of the Prada and Miu Miu brands and growth in all markets globally, the Milan-based luxury firm registered sales of 3.29 billion euros, or $4.24 billion at average exchange, in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

“In a year characterized by a particularly difficult international economic environment, our group has made further important progress along its path of growth, consolidating its position at the head of the luxury goods sector,” said Prada chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli. “The strength of our brands, our ability to interpret and anticipate market trends and our global retail network continue to form the basis for our long-term growth strategy.”

Prada has been investing in expanding its own retail chain, which last year accounted for 82 percent of revenues, totaling 2.66 billion euros, or $3.43 billion, up 36 percent year-on-year. In 2012 the group opened 78 stores, reaching a total of 461 directly operated units at the end of January. These include 283 Prada boutiques, 126 Miu Miu units, 45 Church’s and seven Car Shoe banners.

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Wholesale revenues grew 6 percent despite a reduced number of indirect points of sale.

All geographic markets showed gains: Italy was up 19 percent; the rest of Europe rose 36 percent, and the Asia-Pacific region gained 33 percent. Sales in the Americas and Japan climbed 23 and 14 percent, respectively.

The core Prada business grew 33 percent, and Miu Miu registered a 16 percent increase.

The group’s full 2012 financial results are tentatively expected to be released on April 5.

HSBC commented: “The key concern in the industry remains ‘ubiquity,’ in our view, i.e., ‘I see these stores everywhere, I see these products everywhere.’ Prada addresses the issue with both a lower store count (about 180 less Prada than Louis Vuitton stores) and a unique ‘flash collection’ model enabling the brand to inject new products in store on a monthly basis. Our belief that Prada has come from a second-tier status to one of a go-to brand is not short-lived.”

Separately, in Tuesday’s La Stampa daily, Bertelli described Italian fashion as a “sleeping beauty,” urging it “to wake up. We must all be more aware of the power of our production system, given that all international brands turn to us [Italians] when they need products [perfectly] made.”

The executive also tackled other subjects, including Milan Fashion Week’s show schedule, which he believes should be set “for at least two years,” as in Paris, and strengthened, with more foreigners showing here and more events, parties and exhibits, with designers joining forces.

It is understood Bertelli has been working on a new structure for Italy’s Chamber of Fashion with other members of the association. The new structure would be similar to Pitti Immagine’s, which counts Raffaello Napo­leone as its ceo. Napoleone has been rumored to be favored as a successor to Chamber president Mario Boselli, whose mandate ends in April. In the interview, Bertelli said Boselli “has worked well, but he’s sometimes been left alone from members of the chamber” and said a young, marketing-oriented ceo would help. He concluded by tackling different subjects, saying he would not bring Prada to show in Paris and that he did not regret listing in Hong Kong, once again dismissing a double listing in Milan. And he confided that he will vote for Pier Luigi Bersani, head of Italy’s left-wing Democratic Party, in the elections scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

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