By  on May 12, 2010

MILAN — Profits at online retailer Yoox Group quintupled in the first quarter, jumping to 2 million euros, or $2.7 million, from 400,000 euros, or $520,000, in the same period last year.

The company attributed the climb to currency hedging and lower interest expenses having self-financed most of its investments on the back of its initial public listing last fall.

In the quarter ended March 31, revenues gained 43.4 percent, reaching 50.3 million euros, or $69.4 million, compared with 35.1 million euros, or $45.6 million, the year before. Multibrand online stores yoox.com and thecorner.com posted sales of 38.3 million euros, or $52.8 million, up 30.5 percent compared with the first quarter of 2009.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

The 10-year-old company also runs e-commerce sites for designer brands from Marni and Emilio Pucci to Emporio Armani, Valentino and Roberto Cavalli. This division reported a 109 percent increase in sales, which totaled 12 million euros, or $16.5 million, in the period.

At the end of March, Yoox counted 20 online stores, eight more than in March 2009. In the first quarter, Yoox launched online stores for Coccinelle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Napapijri and Alberta Ferretti. In February, the firm extended its collaboration with Giorgio Armani SpA in Europe, the U.S. and Japan until Jan. 31, 2015. Under the new agreement, the Armani Jeans brand also will be included on emporioarmani.com.

Geographically, sales in Italy grew 21.1 percent and 38.7 percent in Europe. Despite the unfavorable exchange rate, revenues in North America rose 111.6 percent. Yoox attributed the increases “to the recovery of the local market from the difficult economic situation around the world — and in the U.S. in particular” that affected the first few months of 2009, and to a stronger local organization and new country manager.

Japan also showed growth, with sales climbing 46 percent despite the negative exchange rate effect. Sales in “other countries” rose 62.8 percent.

As of March 31, Yoox recorded a monthly average of 8.8 million unique visitors, up 34.7 percent from 6.6 million at the end of March 2009. In the first quarter, the number of orders rose 41.7 percent to 381,000.

In a separate development, Yoox said that, effective June 30, Paolo Fietta will resign from his post as chief financial officer to pursue other interests and the firm is seeking a new cfo.

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