Bulgari SpA said it will raise prices across all product categories "by some percentage points" to protect margins because of soaring material costs — notably gold — and unfavorable exchange rates.
In addition, a spokesman for the Italian jeweler said Friday that shareholders authorized Bulgari to buy back 15.4 million shares over the next 18 months to prop up the share price, which has lost almost one-third of its value in the last six months.
The spokesman said sales had suffered in March after a strong January and February, but performed better than expected at the Basel watch and jewelry fair this month, confirming comments chief executive officer Francesco Trapani made at the company's annual meeting in Rome.
He also confirmed sales, operating profit and net profit forecasts for the year of between 8 and 12 percent on a comparable exchange rate basis.
Bulgari shares closed up 6.7 percent to 7.47 euros, or $11.90 at current exchange, in trading on the Milan Stock Exchange on Friday.
Trapani said in March he was "very cautious" about the current year in light of the economic climate and that a price increase was expected, with gold prices up more than 32 percent in the last 12 months. He also said U.S. business "suffered in the first three months of the year" and was soft in the U.K. "and partially, Spain and Italy."
Bulgari has diversified into new segments such as high-end cosmetics and accessories to drive growth and better cushion it against a slowdown in any single product category. Watches, for example, which accounted for 27 percent of Bulgari's turnover last year, tend to be more susceptible to economic downturns as they attract more aspirational consumers.
In 2007, Bulgari posted a 12.4 percent increase in earnings to 150.9 million euros, or $206.8 million at average exchange, on sales of 1.09 billion euros, or $1.5 billion.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast