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Dolce & Gabbana on Thursday named Christophe Albarran as president of its U.S. subsidiary, replacing Glenn McMahon, who left in August to become chief executive officer of St. John.
Albarran was most recently vice president of global sales at Victorinox Swiss Army Inc., where he worked since May 2006. Earlier, he was worldwide director of customer service at Prada SpA.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were traveling back from holiday in the Maldives at press time and were unavailable for comment.
The design duo will look to Albarran to drive growth in the U.S. which, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007, accounted for 13 percent of wholesale revenues — a modest share by comparison with Italy and the rest of Europe, which made up 69 percent of Dolce & Gabbana’s burgeoning business in the same period.
Albarran will also oversee the expansion of the Italian fashion group’s retail network in North America. Dolce & Gabbana currently operates 14 directly owned stores, including the recently refurbished New York flagship at 825-827 Madison Avenue, which the designers inaugurated last month. Units in San Francisco and Chicago are planned for this year.
Albarran is the third executive in seven years to hold the post of U.S. president, which reports directly to Dolce & Gabbana’s board.
Managing director Cristiana Ruella, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, told WWD’s brother publication DNR in the fall that the role of U.S. president has evolved, following the decision to bring the younger D&G line in-house as of the spring 2007 season. The position requires “operational, financial and logistical” clout, rather than “simply commercial expertise,” Ruella said at the time.
In the fiscal year ended March 31, net profits at Dolce & Gabbana soared 38 percent to 149.7 million euros, or $191.6 million, on consolidated revenues of 1.05 billion euros, or $1.34 billion. Dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.
Total wholesale revenues, meaning sales of Dolce & Gabbana and D&G branded products, by both the group and third-party licensees, reached 1.35 billion euros, or $1.73 billion.
The D&G brand, which has experienced an average annual growth rate of 24 percent over the last decade, represented 44 percent of total wholesale revenues, or 600.8 million euros ($769 million).
The group generates much of its sales through clothing. Apparel, including beachwear and underwear, accounted for 44 percent of total wholesale sales. Fragrances, eyewear, timepieces and jewelry make up 42 percent and leather accessories and footwear the remaining 14 percent.
However, a recent co-branding deal with Motorola demonstrates the growing demand for the fashion brand. Factoring in sales of the gold Dolce & Gabbana Motorazr V3i cell phone — launched in June 2006 — the Italian fashion group’s wholesale revenues rose to 1.55 billion euros, or just under $2 billion, for fiscal 2007.