By  on October 30, 2006

MILAN — Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana referenced Napoleon Bonaparte in their fall collection, and their company's annual report provides even more evidence the duo is building a fashion empire — a nearly $1 billion one, to be precise.

Dolce & Gabbana Srl just published its fifth annual report, which shows double-digit growth in both earnings and revenues. Net profit for the 12 months ended March 31 advanced 11 percent to 108.8 million euros, or $132.7 million. Sales rose 18 percent to 809.5 million euros, or $987.6 million, beating an original forecast for 15 percent growth. (Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.)

"We have a growth that is very homogenous. We are growing on all fronts," director of general affairs Cristiana Ruella told WWD, citing plenty of room for expansion for the company, both in terms of products such as accessories and in emerging markets such as China.

To be sure, Dolce & Gabbana's balance sheet will get an even bigger boost during the current fiscal year, when the company will consolidate the sales volume of the D&G diffusion line. The spring 2007 collection was the first to be entirely produced and distributed in-house since Dolce & Gabbana ended its 12-year licensing pact with IT Holding. D&G already does about 250 million euros, or $315 million, a year in sales, and the company is expecting double-digit growth in the label's first year under direct management.

Consolidating D&G's sales will push Dolce & Gabbana over the 1 billion euro mark in terms of sales, a size approaching that of Italy's biggest luxury players, such as Giorgio Armani, Prada Group and Max Mara. Armani had sales of 1.43 billion euros last year.

"It's a good benchmark," Ruella said. "The integration of D&G will allow us to make a large jump."

In the annual report's introduction, designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce said they are looking to the future "with more enthusiasm and determination than ever," stressing the importance of optimizing their company's structure.

"We intend to continue along the growth path of the last few years, and at the same time retain our independence. This will allow us to fully develop the still-unrealized potential of our brands and the markets in which we operate," the pair wrote.

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