LONDON — Double-digit growth in North America, coupled with favorable currency fluctuations and new store openings worldwide, boosted first-half sales at Tommy Hilfiger Group by 3.4 percent to 772 million euros, or $1.08 billion, from 747 million euros, or $1.05 billion.
All figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the six-month period ending Sept. 30.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer Fred Gehring said the group’s plans for an initial public offering remain “on ice,” although a stock market listing is still part of the company’s vision.
“We are going to consider it for sure, but when we go depends on how the market evolves. We’ll do it when the time is right,” he said Tuesday. “At the moment, however, we are not actively thinking about it. We are working on building the business.”
Although the company, which is owned by Apax Partners, had never formally announced plans for an IPO in 2007, it was no secret it was preparing to list on Euronext, the pan-European stock exchange. The company put those plans on hold in January 2008 because of volatile market conditions.
Gehring said he was upbeat about the current half, despite the “unstable” environment.
“The past six months have been such an unusual time, but I do think we have left the tougher period behind us. Hopefully, we are at the end of the crisis,” he said, adding he expected second-half sales growth to be “more or less” in line with the first six months.
Hilfiger said sales in North America rose 13.1 percent to 324 million euros, or $453.6 million, from 286.4 million euros, or $401 million, due to strong growth at retail.
The company said the addition of handbags, footwear and new product groups at Macy’s resulted in sales growth of 23.3 percent.
Gehring said sales at Hilfiger’s new Manhattan flagship are “substantially ahead of plan,” and have been given a boost by international customers taking advantage of the weak dollar. He said the U.K. business, too, was strong, thanks in part to tourists trading on the weaker pound.
In the six-month period, sales in Europe fell 6.4 percent to 365 million euros, or $511 million, from 390 million euros, or $546 million, due to a slowdown in wholesale volumes due to more cautious buying, the statement said.
In the period, the company also reduced its European customer base by 15 percent in a bid to consolidate its wholesale portfolio.
In Japan, sales were up 20.1 percent, thanks entirely to currency fluctuations. They would have decreased 1.8 percent at constant currency rates, the company said. Sales at franchises in Central and South America, the Middle East and Asia were up 9.8 percent, but flat at constant exchange rates.
Gehring said he was particularly proud of the interim sales increase because the company’s attitude over the past six months has been “less growth focused” — and more concentrated on streamlining operations.
“When the crisis hit last October, we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s not be too hung up on growth, and focus instead on the balance sheet and working capital.’ So we looked at improving efficiencies, processes and inventory levels — and we are ahead of our aggressive plans,” Gehring said.
Forty new store openings in the six-month period took Tommy Hilfiger’s global retail portfolio to 950 units. About 50 percent of those are wholly owned and operated.
“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