MILAN — Raf Simons’ appointment as creative director of Jil Sander AG two years ago is proving to be pivotal in the turnaround of the German brand, which is on track to break eventhis year.
In an interview to discuss year-end financial results, Armin Mueller, chief financial officer of Jil Sander, said feedback from the market and consumers was “very encouraging,” and that the brand was expanding its points of sale and its customer base.
“We added 18 new clients in one season, and sales of the fall-winter 2006-2007 collection grew 10 percent,” said Mueller.
The company said that in the year ended Jan. 31, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to 4.3 million euros, or $5.8 million, compared with a loss of 19.8 million euros, or $24.9 million, in the 2005-2006 period.
“EBITDA is a fundamental indicator, a management target we set out for 2006 and delivered. In 2007, we will focus on the net position and we are close to breakeven, but we are not setting silly targets,” said Mueller.
The company posted a net loss of 14.1 million euros, or $19 million, reducing its debt by 60 percent compared with the previous year.
Sales amounted to 129 million euros, or $174.6 million, a slight drop compared with 130 million euros, or $163.8 million, reported in the previous fiscal year. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange rates.
Mueller said changes in distribution and unfavorable exchange rates affected revenues. Also in 2006, the company closed three factory outlets, relocated two flagships and closed the London boutique. The company will open a London store at another location in the fall.
Jil Sander is investing in creating a worldwide retail network, although Mueller was quick to point out the company has no intention of becoming a retailer and will continue to rely on its wholesalers as well. Retail sales account for 40 percent of revenues.
In March, the company opened a flagship in Frankfurt and three shops-in-shops in Japan. In a partnership with Bosco dei Ciliegi in July, Jil Sander will open two new stores in Russia, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and its first accessories-only boutique in Moscow.By yearend, the company expects to have 40 stores globally. Simons’ new store concept is slated to bow in the second half of the year, but Mueller said the designer had already been evolving the existing one. “Strategically, we want to downsize the stores, have a more intimate feel and less of a cathedral mood, choosing the right space in the most appropriate areas,” said a spokesman.
Geographically, Germany accounted for 20.7 percent of sales and the rest of Europe for 31.9 percent. The Far East and the U.S. accounted for 27.8 percent and 19.6 percent, respectively.
The company plans to close its Fifth Avenue store in New York and open two new stores in the city, one in uptown Manhattan, the other downtown, although no dates have been set. There is also a store in Chicago. “This market has the potential to grow in 2007 to account for 22 percent of sales,” said Mueller. In the U.S., in one season, sales of handbags grew more than 100 percent and shoes, 40 percent, according to Mueller.
Last June, the company tapped Balenciaga executive Michele Sodi to be president of Jil Sander America, a new position. “Sodi and his team are taking Jil Sander into the next phase of development in the U.S.,” said Mueller.
The company is also banking on the growth of the new accessories division. Sales of handbags and footwear grew 35 and 25 percent, respectively. In September 2006, the company tapped Giuseppe di Nuccio, formerly at Burberry, as manager of the accessories department.
In 2006, the category accounted for 19 percent of sales. In 2005, accessories accounted for about 15 percent of sales, or $23.4 million. Last year, women’s apparel accounted for 60.8 percent of sales. Men’s ready-to-wear accounted for 18 percent of sales, and licenses contributed to the remaining 2.2 percent. The company today has one license, with Coty, for fragrances. A new men’s fragrance, the first scent supervised by Simons, will bow in July and be available in September. A new women’s fragrance is slated for next year.
While the company is looking at expanding its product categories and is working on a possible eyewear license for next year, Mueller said there were no plans to underwrite a significant number of licenses.The company, which London private equity group Change Capital acquired from Prada Group in February 2006, is still listed on the German Bourse. In September, Jil Sander’s minority shareholders approved a “squeeze out” plan that would de-list the company from the Frankfurt and Hamburg stock exchanges and allow Change Capital to own 100 percent of the company. However, Mueller said there was still one shareholder rejecting the deal and this was enough to stall the procedure.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)