PARIS — Benefiting from its attainable luxury positioning amid economic uncertainty, French leather goods firm Longchamp saw revenues bound 16 percent last year to 454 million euros, or $583.7 million at average exchange rates.
The results were powered by a rollout of boutiques and shops-in-shop; key product launches including a leather version of its perennially popular Le Pliage bag, and a steady flow of Asian tourists, particularly in Europe.
Disclosing key financial results and development plans to WWD, Longchamp chief executive officer Jean Cassegrain said January and February “started well” after a “difficult” December in Europe, making him “quite optimistic” the luxury firm can keep up its double-digit pace this year.
“If things are getting a little tougher in 2013, it can also play in our favor,” he said in an interview at the family-controlled firm’s headquarters here. “We have proven to be more crisis-resistant than some of our competitors.”
By region, sales increased 26 percent in the Americas; 25 percent in Asia-Pacific; 16 percent in Europe, excluding France, and the Middle East, and 9 percent in France, still the brand’s largest market.
The U.S. ranks as the number-two market, with two other countries vying for the spot: Japan and Germany, whose globe-trotting Chancellor Angela Merkel is often pictured carrying a Longchamp tote.
Cassegrain noted that Longchamp’s revenues have catapulted 75 percent in the last three years, necessitating a 215,000-square-foot expansion of its distribution facility in Segré, France, where the brand’s main factory is based. The project represents an investment of 26 million euros, or $34.5 million at current exchange.
Longchamp ended the year with 252 directly operated boutiques and shops-in-shop, with a flagship on Canton Road in Hong Kong among key additions.
“It is already ranking in our top-five shops around the world,” Cassegrain said of the latter location, flashing a big smile. “It gives a lot of visibility to the brand. It’s a huge billboard for the Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong.”
Key openings in 2013 are headlined by a 5,400-square-foot flagship at 229 Regent Street in London, slated for the second half of the year.
In the U.S., Longchamp just opened a shop-in-shop at Macy’s Herald Square in New York, and is about to open at the Aventura Mall in Miami, along with a unit in the Miami Design District.
Stores in Geneva, Rome and Amsterdam are in the cards for Europe.
Cassegrain said the company would ramp up its push into the footwear category for fall, primarily in its own stores, and with select wholesale partners, including Galeries Lafayette, which plans to open a dedicated space for the brand in its shoe department later this year.
Earlier this month, the landmark Paris department store opened a pop-up unit showcasing Longchamp’s ready-to-wear.
Yet leather goods still represent the lion’s share of the business, with Longchamp slated to put marketing muscle behind its new LM Cuir line of embossed cowhide handbags.
In late March, the brand is to open a 500-square-foot pop-up store dedicated to the LM range at 271 Rue Saint-Honoré, just opposite its flagship here.
Exclusive: Nicola Formichetti is parting ways with @diesel after nearly four years. Formichetti, who served as Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2009, joined Diesel in 2013 as creative and artistic director. His first show debuted in Venice with a show held at the Venetian Arsenal. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
The polo shirt - an icon of preppy style - is roaring back into fashion in many creative guises, like this A-line polyester top from @carven, worn with @31philliplim cotton and elastane pants. Designers stretched a fashion classic into all kinds of new permutations this season. See how @mayteallende styled the preppy trend on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📸 : Kinya)
(Market Editors: @andrew_shang and @elmercer, Makeup: @amandawilsonmakeup using @fentybeauty, Hair: @gonn24, Model: @bara_holotova at @women360mgmt)
“I do like period [projects] a lot because I like creating those worlds, a world that is different from today," costume designer Mark Bridges said about the '50s British couture featured in @phantomthread. Bridges created the overall aesthetic and individual fashion looks for the film, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. Pictured here is a gown he designed for Krieps who plays Alma – the love interest of Day-Lewis' character, Reynolds Woodcock. #wwdfashion
@prada is embracing the holiday season with a series of short movies about the art of gift-giving. "The Postman's Gifts", which was directed by American filmmaker Autumn de Wilde, focuses on the brand's signature Prada Galleria bag and features Elijah Wood as the postman. In the first two episodes, Wood's delivers the iconic bag to @emmaroberts, who plays herself as a movie star, and Sasha Frolova. #wwdfashion
“I think I never met the person while we were working,” Vicky Krieps said of Daniel Day-Lewis, who she plays the love interest of in “Phantom Thread.” Day-Lewis remained perennially in character, so much so that she feels she’s just meeting him now. “It’s interesting to see how different he is in real life to the character,” Krieps said. WWD sat down with the 34-year-old actress to talk about her new role in the period film, which brings the fifties’ gender dynamics into the mix. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@gucci has expanded its “Places” project to include six new cities. The initiative, which was first unveiled in July, aims to invite people to explore inspirational locations for the brand. On the list is the Biblioteca Angelica library in Rome pictured here. See the other five new venues on WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @massimo_listri_official)
#ad From tools to lashes, WWD rounded up wellness and beauty products guaranteed to take your skin care and makeup routines to the next level in 2018. Follow along as @laceandleatherbyelyse, @ashnfashn and @elleisalwayshere experiment with these products on their Instagram profiles and blogs. #NewYearBetterYou
Blogger @camilacoelho is one of the fastest growing beauty influencers around the world. The bilingual blogger has worked with brands like @revolve Beauty, @dior, @louisvuitton and more and has an Earned Media Value of $34,338,441, according to @tribedynamics. But Coelho isn’t the only influencer making a major impact — head to WWD.com to see the other fastest-growing influencers in six key global markets. #beautyfridays (📷: @zefashioninsider)