PARIS — Paris-based SMCP Group, the holding company for contemporary brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, said revenues jumped 20.5 percent in 2014, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth in excess of 20 percent.
Sales totaled 508.6 million euros, or $676 million, last year with 41.5 percent of revenues coming from outside France, up from 35.2 percent in 2013, it reported. The group is scheduled to report its full-year results on April 24.
Same-store sales rose 1.7 percent worldwide in a difficult economic environment, especially in SMCP’s key domestic market. France nonetheless posted a 0.9 percent increase in same-store sales, outperforming the market as a whole, with the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Italy also in positive territory.
The year was marked by a big push into Asia, with the opening of 15 stores in Mainland China and SMCP’s first unit in Singapore, as well as its acquisition of AZ Retail, its former distribution partner in Hong Kong.
SMCP opened 91 stores worldwide, including 22 in North America and 28 in Europe, among them its first units in Norway.
Daniel Lalonde, chief executive officer of SMCP Group, said it would pursue its investments overseas in 2015 with 90 to 110 store openings and the development of online sales, with the aim of becoming the worldwide leader in the accessible luxury segment.
“We’re very much still viewing ourselves for quite some time as a growth company,” Lalonde told WWD.
“The idea is to continue to nurture the growth of the brand in France while investing selectively in markets which we think have tremendous potential for the brand,” he said, adding SMCP’s “number-one priority” was like-for-like growth.
The brand is in an accelerated development phase since Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. bought a 65 percent stake in the group in 2013, signaling heightened investor interest in the category.
Present in 31 countries, the group plans to enter a handful of territories this year, including Sweden and some countries in the Middle East. It will continue investing in France, where the company unveiled new store concepts for Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot last year, with the aim of gaining market share.
“We’re still very focused on those new markets, as well, to deliver a strong like-for-like growth, even as we expand. I think the digital part will be very helpful as well, because I think it’s the way our consumers are choosing to interact with the brands,” Lalonde said.
Online sales grew 49.2 percent in 2014 and he hopes e-commerce will represent between 10 and 20 percent of revenues within three years. The group has around 20 e-commerce sites and will add another four or five this year.
SMCP also plans to grow its accessories business, which accounts for 5 to 8 percent of revenues, depending on the brand. “There’s a pent-up demand for a great handbag collection that is brand-appropriate,” Lalonde noted.
As of the end of 2014, SMCP had 975 stores, of which 805 were directly operated and the remainder with retail partners in the Middle East, South Korea and Russia.
Lalonde predicted international operations would soon generate the lion’s share of revenues. “I definitely expect that our international business overall will be larger than France. I think next year we’ll be at a balance point,” he said.
It plans to add between 20 and 30 units a year in Mainland China. In the United States, SMCP opened 22 stores last year, including six concessions under a new partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue.
“We’ve invested a lot in the U.S. over the last couple of years and we will continue to invest in this market. We’re focusing now on our investments in the U.S. on brand-building,” Lalonde said.
The executive knows the market well: Before joining SMCP in April 2014, he was president of Ralph Lauren International and a longtime executive at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where his functions included heading Louis Vuitton North America from 2006 to 2010.