By  on January 12, 2011

PARIS — Signaling its commitment to growing e-commerce, French retail-to-luxury firm PPR said Wednesday it has created a new business unit dedicated to online retail to be headed by Fabien Sfez, formerly general manager of books and electronics retailer Fnac’s French division.

The unit is designed to develop synergies across brands, coordinate e-commerce initiatives and share digital expertise, PPR said.

“E-commerce is a strategic priority for PPR,” stated chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault. “This appointment reflects my goal to increase our digital presence and accelerate our growth in online sales, which should reach 10 percent of Gucci Group and Puma’s consolidated revenues over the next few years.”

The group declined to specify what percentage online sales represent at present, but noted that e-commerce sales totaled 2 billion euros, or $2.79 billion, in 2009 with more than 80 Web sites worldwide.

This compared with total revenues from continuing operations of 16.52 billion euros, or $23.04 billion, down 4 percent year-on-year. The group’s mail-order division, Redcats, has been particularly active in developing Web sales, which accounted for 47 percent of overall turnover in 2009.

Dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.

Sfez, whose appointment is effective next month, will report to Pinault and will join PPR’s executive committee. Having begun his career at Accenture, Sfez worked for pay-television operator Canal Plus before joining PPR in 2003. He has been general manager of Fnac France since 2006.

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