By  on August 6, 2014

MILAN — Italian high-end sportswear maker Moncler SpA on Wednesday said net profits in the first half of the year more than doubled on the back of strong revenue growth in all markets except Italy and strong performance in stores open at least 52 weeks.

In a statement released after the close of trading here, where the company is listed, Moncler said that net profits for the six months ended June 30 reached 18.1 million euros, or $24.8 million, compared to 8.3 million euros, or $10.9 million, in the year-ago period.

Total revenues increased 19 percent in the period, reaching 218.3 million euros, or $299.1 million, while like-for-like sales increased 10 percent, driven by strong performance in North America and Asia.

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In the second quarter, revenues jumped 27 percent on the year-earlier period, reaching 72.9 million euros, or $99.9 million, while the net loss narrowed to 5.4 million euros, or $7.4 million, from 8 million euros, or $10.5 million — a loss linked to the seasonality of the business.

The three months to end June marked “another very good quarter for Moncler,” chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini said on a conference call, boosted by the 10 percent comparable-sales gains as well as the rollout of new stores. In the first half, Moncler opened seven new monobrand retail locations, bringing the total to 114 worldwide.

Ruffini pointed to double-digit sales gains in Japan in the second quarter, along with “solid results” in Hong Kong and the U.S. Moncler also did well in Europe, with the Italian market making a recovery in the second quarter, “in line with our expectations,” he said.

In the three months to end June, sales in Italy increased 14 percent on the year-earlier period, to 14.9 million euros, or $20.4 million. Italy remained the group’s largest single market, representing 21 percent of total revenues, although this was a bit less than its weight in the second quarter of 2013.

In the first half, sales in Italy expanded by just 1 percent, to 47.5 million euros, or $65.1 million.

Asia and Rest of the World put in the strongest sales growth in the first half, with revenues expanding 38 percent on the year-earlier period, to 66.6 million euros, or $91.2 million. The Americas followed, with sales up 28 percent, to 21.6 million euros, or $29.6 million, while the Europe, Middle East and Africa (excluding Italy) group revenues grew 16 percent, to 82.6 million euros, or $113.2 million.

In terms of channels, both wholesale and retail put in a strong performance in the first half, with the former registering 9 percent growth, to 96.4 million euros, or $132.1 million, and the latter up 28 percent, to 121.9 million euros, or $167 million. Retail sales also benefited from the company’s store-opening campaign, which will continue into the second half.

On the conference call, chief corporate officer Luciano Santel said Moncler will open another 18 stores by December, with an additional 10 locations already “secured” for 2015.

Santel said that the group’s most important store openings in the second quarter were travel-retail locations in airports in Hong Kong, Milan (Malpensa) and Rome (Fiumicino), as well as a new store in Moscow.

Pointing again to the group’s financial performance, Santel pointed out how Moncler’s gross margin — at 155 million euros, or $207.7 million — reached 71 percent of sales in the first six months of the year, up from 70 percent in 2013. The gross margin improved mostly as a result of “channel mix,” which led to higher retail sales. However, Santel added that the flip side to the retail expansion campaign is higher expenses.

The company, meanwhile, is gearing up for a new advertising push, which will include a campaign developed with the help of Annie Leibovitz, to start in November and which will also air on digital platforms.

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