Sales, Profits Up at Bottega Veneta in 2012

The year was a record one for the Italian luxury firm, which crossed the $1 billion mark in revenues for the first time and posted strong profitability.

Marco Bizzarri and Tomas Maier

MILAN — The year 2012 was a record one for Bottega Veneta, which crossed the $1 billion mark in revenues for the first time and posted strong profitability.

This story first appeared in the February 22, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Italian luxury firm saw a 46.7 percent jump in operating profit, which reached 300 million euros, or $384 million, compared with 204.6 million euros, or $284.4 million, in 2011.

In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, Bottega Veneta posted sales of 945.1 million euros, or $1.2 billion, up 38.5 percent compared with 682.6 million euros, or $948.8 million, the previous year.

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

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“I attribute this to a combination of our type of product, an extraordinary creative director [Tomas Maier], which eases my work, and strategic choices in line with the brand,” Bottega Veneta president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri told WWD before the brand’s fall women’s show Saturday. “We have been consistently focused on uncompromising strategies, and we took no shortcuts to pump up our sales.”

He noted that gains across all markets in the first half continued on an upward trajectory in the second half, which showed a growth of 33.9 percent to 515.5 million euros, or $654.7 million.

Last year, the company opened 26 stores for a total of 196 and Bizzarri said 2013 will see “the same kind of investments.” The executive underscored that Bottega Veneta is not following “megatrends,” rushing to open units in emerging markets, for example, but is aiming at maintaining an “equivalent growth rate.”

Touting a more balanced expansion, he said Europe and Italy remain “strategic” for the brand. Bizzarri disclosed that Bottega Veneta’s biggest boutique is to open in Milan’s golden shopping triangle, covering 7,560 square feet of selling space. He declined to provide the exact address, but said that there are no plans to close the existing smaller venue on Via Montenapoleone. “We will have a double exposure in the city and the new store will be a maison, with a complete offer of our products for men and women. That said, our strategy hasn’t changed, we are happy with smaller units, too, and we are not suddenly looking for huge spaces for the brand,” Bizzarri stressed.

At the end of April, the company will open a store in Los Angeles with a new design by Maier. “We would like to create different shopping experiences that reflect the culture of each city,” said Bizzarri, adding that he did not know if the store concept would be replicated elsewhere.

The retail division accounts for 80 percent of total revenues.

Bizzarri said he was “very confident about 2013 — for what I can control — just as I was in 2012. All the elements that characterize the brand, products and communication are in line and allow a competitive advantage.”

Maier’s collections for the brand have been garnering positive reactions from retailers and customers and, while leather goods continues to be the brand’s core business, accounting for 85 percent of sales, apparel is growing at the same pace “in absolute value. Ready-to-wear is fundamental,” said Bizzarri.

Bottega Veneta is controlled by French luxury-to-lifestyle conglomerate PPR. Asked to comment on ongoing speculation that he may be headed to Gucci or some other position within PPR, Bizzarri admitted that the rumor had reached him, but said that it remains a rumor. “I know nothing of any change, and I don’t think it’s true. It’s just gossip,” he said.