MILAN — Growth of the jewelry and watch categories across all geographical markets helped boost Bulgari's first-quarter performance and drove chief executive officer Francesco Trapani to express optimism and expectations of "an 8 to 9 percent growth" for the year.
Bulgari's net profits in the first quarter rose 19 percent, to 18.2 million euros, or $21.8 million, compared with the same period in the previous year, as sales grew 13.6 percent, to 203.9 million euros, or $244.7 million. At constant exchange rates, sales would have grown 11.9 percent. All dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.
"The results achieved through this first quarter of the year in all product categories and in all countries make me optimistic also for the forthcoming months and confirm that we are going in the right direction," said Trapani in a statement issued on Thursday. "In accordance with the guidance given to the market at the beginning of the year, in fact, I expect for 2006 — without extraordinary events — an 8 to 9 percent increase at comparable exchange rates for turnover and net profits."
Steps taken by the company to increase production efficiency and achieve a stronger vertical integration resulted in a 15 percent growth in operating profits, to 21.8 million euros, or $26.2 million.
Jewelry, which accounted for 39 percent of sales, grew 8.2 percent at constant exchange rates, compared with the same period last year. Watches continued the growth trend registered in the last quarter of 2005, posting a 13.1 percent increase in sales. The company said the new collection BVLGARI BVLGARI presented at the Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show last April was well received and that the category showed further growth potential. Watches accounted for 28.6 percent of sales.
Sales in the fragrance division dropped 1.9 percent, but Bulgari said this data was compared with a record first quarter in 2005, when the men's fragrance AQVA was launched, which posted a 19.8 percent growth compared with the first quarter of 2004. The company said it expected an improvement in the category for 2006 with the launch of new fragrances in the second half of the year.
Accessories grew 44.2 percent, accounting for 12.5 percent of sales. As reported, Bulgari has been investing in the development of this division, rolling out a series of accessories-only boutiques. Last year, Bulgari opened two of these, in Osaka and Tokyo, and there are plans for another three or four in Asia and Europe.All geographical markets showed healthy growth, but Bulgari said in the statement that "great satisfaction came from the robust and continuative sales performance in Japan," which grew 25.3 percent. Sales in Europe and Italy rose 27.1 and 13.9 percent, respectively, and the Middle East/others grew 22.5 percent at current exchange rates. Growth in the U.S. was slower, up 8.4 percent. Bulgari attributed the 24.7 percent drop in the Far East to weakness of some markets and its recent strategy to better control product distribution. Last year, Bulgari shuttered some wholesale accounts in Asia to prevent the reselling of stock to Japan.
Operating costs, excluding promotional and advertising expenses, reached 87 million euros, or $104.4 million, up 16.7 percent from 74.5 million euros, or $97.5 million, in the first quarter of 2005. Bulgari attributed this increase to investments in retailing, which included the refurbishment and expansion of its Fifth Avenue store and the building of a 10-story tower in Tokyo. The Tokyo site will house both the brand's biggest store and the company's Japanese headquarters. Promotional and advertising expenses were stable at 23.6 million euros, or $28.3 million.
Bulgari also said Alberto Nathansohn would be appointed corporate finance and administration executive vice president effective May 15. Nathansohn, 48, who will replace Ernesto Greco, was previously ceo of Eurofly Service SpA and before that worked at Pirelli Group.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye