MILAN — Brunello Cucinelli expressed satisfaction with his namesake company’s growth in the first half of the year, but, this being Cucinelli, figures are only part of the package, as the entrepreneur took the opportunity to reiterate that he “like[s] to support labor that fosters harmony with Creation.” Given the performance in the six months ended June 30, it “augurs well for another year of delightful growth.”
In the first half, revenues were up 8.1 percent to 291.4 million euros, compared with 269.5 million euros in the same period last year.
“The sales of our spring-summer collections were especially good, and the start to the fall 2019 was also very, very positive,” said the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the preliminary figures reported on Thursday at the end of trading in Milan, where the company is publicly listed.”
Cucinelli also expressed his “full satisfaction” with the “clearly positive drive” of the first orders for the men’s spring 2020 and new kids’ collections presented last month. “This healthy and pleasant work environment makes us look forward to the forthcoming presentation of the spring 2020 women’s collection. Moreover, we serenely envisage a next year full of pleasant and profitable results.” Regarding the children’s collection, Cucinelli interprets it as the “natural extension of the brand and broadening of our ready-to-wear offer.”
In the first half, sales in Italy edged up 1.1 percent to 44.3 million euros, representing 15.2 percent of the total. Cucinelli said Pitti Uomo continues to be “fundamental” for the company, “allowing us to come into contact with customers, suppliers and the press and enabling us to gain a clear vision of national and international ‘sentiment’ in terms of business and taste.” Cucinelli also said “the Florence-Milan combination fully represents the world of male fashion, giving life to a sort of great outdoors show.”
Sales in Europe rose 9.6 percent to 92.4 million euros, accounting for 31.7 percent of the total.
Revenues in the North American market climbed 9 percent to $94.1 million, representing 32.3 percent, lifted by consistency of local demand and top-end tourism in the monobrand and multibrand channels, also in Europe. The belief is that “there is an increasingly marked difference between the ‘absolute luxury’ offer and the ‘accessible luxury’ offer, and that the clear distinction is causing luxury department stores to assign increasing room to the most exclusive luxury sector to capture the top-end customer.”
Sales in Greater China grew 15.9 percent to 28.8 million euros, accounting for 9.9 percent of the total. “We are very pleased with the performance achieved in China and continue to manage our growth path with the aim of seeking to be in some way ‘exclusive,’ both in terms of distribution and with respect to the relationship of esteem, trust and sharing we endeavor to create with the Chinese customer. For this reason we have developed a highly structured local team in which almost all the collaborators are of Chinese extraction, helping us daily to understand the culture of this great country and frequently coming to Italy,” said the company, and in particular traveling to the headquarters in Solomeo “as a means of assimilating our culture and our values and then transferring these to the end customer.”
The Rest of the World area was up 5.5 percent to 31.9 million euros, accounting for 10.9 percent of the total. The performance was solid in all of the group’s markets, including South Korea and Japan.
The retail monobrand channel gained 12 percent, with sales of 150 million euros, representing 51.5 percent of the total.
The first half of the year confirmed sustainable like-for-like growth, up 3.7 percent, supported by positive sellouts of the spring 2019 collections. As of June 30, the company counted 102 boutiques, including the addition of three units compared with the end of June last year, and two conversions from the wholesale monobrand channel. The wholesale monobrand channel posted a 1.5 percent uptick to 18.2 million euros, representing 6.2 percent of the total. The network consisted of 28 boutiques. The wholesale multibrand channel was up 6.5 percent to 123.3 million euros, accounting for 42.3 percent of the total.
Cucinelli said there was a feeling that customers were “increasingly identifying themselves as ‘ambassadors’ of” the brand’s taste, and that its efforts to be contemporary were contributing to the increasing appeal of the products. “We have the impression that there has been a strengthening of the bond and sense of belonging of the end customer, who is searching for our lifestyle offer and the values and philosophy that distinguish us and can be fully shared inside Solomeo, the ‘Hamlet of the Spirit,’ where more and more often we have the pleasure of hosting the brand’s customers and friends.”
Cucinelli noted that, as reported, at the end of May, he greeted in Solomeo “a very special group of “Young Leonardos of the Third Millenium.” As reported, a group of top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including the likes of Jeff Bezos, Dick Costolo, Reid Hoffman, and Ruzwana Bashir, were hosted by Cucinelli at Solomeo for the “Symposium on Soul and Economics.”
“In the three days we spent together (at home without mobile-phones) we attempted to discuss humanity’s great problems, each one of us running through his life since childhood. We tackled the big issue of the responsibility we have towards humanity, the constant search in feeling ourselves custodians who are planning for those who will come after us, envisioning a three-month plan (all listed companies), a three-year plan and also a thousand-year plan,” said Cucinelli. “We had long discussions about human sustainability, which we called “living in harmony with the Created.” At the end, the group agreed to meet once a year for this event.
Full first-half results will be presented on Aug. 28.