By  on September 23, 2005

MILAN — As the construction workers race to renovate an old movie theater into Dolce & Gabbana's new events space in time for the pair's 20th anniversary show on Thursday, the designers are putting the finishing touches on their fourth balance sheet.

Once again, it shows double-digit growth in profits and sales. Net profit for the fiscal year ended March 31 bolted 76.9 percent to 98.2 million euros, or $123.7 million. Consolidated revenue, which excludes that of licensees, for the period advanced 17.3 percent to 686.4 million euros, or $864.9 million.

A combination of winning collections and prudent fiscal management fueled growth for the year, Dolce & Gabbana's general affairs director Cristiana Ruella said in an exclusive interview at the group's headquarters here.

"Everything originates from the fact that the products Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana create are consistently products that the consumers desire," Ruella said, forecasting sales growth of at least 15 percent for the current fiscal year ending next March.

Stefano Gabbana, in a phone interview, said he and business partner Domenico Dolce learned early in life from their families "never to take a step that's longer than your leg." Even though the pair's names generated sales of almost $870 million last year, they are still taking that advice, designating company profits for investments and the repayment of debts rather than dividends for themselves. To wit, the company reduced debt to 21.4 million euros, or $26.9 million, at the end of March, down from 33.8 million euros, or $39.9 million, a year ago.

"Everything is planned with a margin of prudence," Gabbana said.

It's a seminal year for Dolce & Gabbana as the company gears up for its third decade of existence. The firm is taking the production of its D&G diffusion line in-house, reorganizing its U.S. division under president Glenn McMahon and expanding into China through a new wholly owned subsidiary.

McMahon's arrival is not the only high-level management change at the company. Earlier this month, former Gucci executive Giacomo Santucci resigned as commercial, licenses and retail director after only six months on the job. Seemingly unfazed by this development, Ruella said Santucci's decision was a personal one and he's not being replaced.

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