MILAN — Brunello Cucinelli aims to live in harmony — and it’s clearly working for his brand.
The namesake founder, chairman and chief executive officer of his brand on Tuesday saw his company’s shares climb 7.6 percent on the Italian Stock Exchange after Brunello Cucinelli SpA reported a 9.9 percent increase in sales in the year to Dec. 31 to 607.8 million euros, versus 553 million euros at the end of December 2018.
The shares closed at 34.20 euros.
In a phone interview from Pitti Uomo in Florence, where he was presenting the brand’s men’s fall 2021 collection, an upbeat Cucinelli — a longtime proponent of a “graceful” growth of his company — admitted he keeps an eye on its share price, too.
“Yes, of course, but honestly, all this is very important in terms of the image of the company,” he noted. “Today customers want to know how, where, why you work, they are focused on sustainability, which we call harmony. And in this past year, which was a special year, we think we lived and worked in harmony with the universe.”
It all led to what Cucinelli characterized as an “excellent” year in 2019 for his luxury company.
Asked if he was concerned about the recent developments, following the targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Cucinelli said he tried to “avoid working in distress, because you risk losing concentration,” but rather focused on long-term objectives and “plans for the future of mankind. With a population of 8 billion people, there’s always some crisis, we’ve seen the Gulf War, the Hong Kong protests, the yellow vests in France, and people must be free to protest. I am only sorry to see violence, I am against any form of violence and open to all religions. I like to transmit love for the world.”
In light of the gain in sales, Cucinelli said he expects “healthy, balanced and sustainable profits.” Given the “excellent sell-out” of the past fall collection, the “good orders intake” for the spring 2020 collection, and the “very favorable” start of the fall 2020 season, “we keep working with peace of mind and expect a 2020 of good growth in turnover, profits and image,” he added.
“We consider 2019 a wonderful year, one of the best in our history, and the first in our growth project with the goal of doubling turnover in 10 years,” the company said. “We have the concrete impression that the feeling around the brand is very, very positive: international press, large luxury department stores, multibrand clients and final-customers convey their enthusiasm to us sharing the values of our company, values that we try to live daily in Solomeo [where the company is based], which we love to call ‘Hamlet of the Spirit.’”
The company underscored the initiatives introduced in 2019, which it believes were “fully consistent with the brand’s positioning and values. In particular, we are very happy with the results we are achieving with the ‘Sartoria Solomeo’ project, with which we have sought to respond to the male customers looking for a young and contemporary ‘sartorial’ look that does not sacrifice elegance and extreme refinement.”
Cucinelli last year also unveiled new children’s collections to “very positive orders.”
“We continue to believe in the great value of repairing, reusing and passing on our garments, thanks to the skillful hands of our seamstresses who are able to regenerate and give new life to garments worn out over time,” added the company.
In 2019, sales in Italy grew 1.9 percent to 89.9 million euros, representing 14.8 percent of the total. Revenues in Europe rose 12.9 percent to 184.9 million euros, accounting for 30.4 percent of the total.
Sales in the North American market were up 8.9 percent to 203.8 million euros, representing 33.5 percent of the total. “The U.S. is always our number-one market, and we are very happy with its performance and the beautiful relationship with our customers — both final and multibrand — and our presence in the market, with exclusive spaces in the monobrand and multibrand channels.” Coming soon is a boutique in the Meatpacking District in New York, considered a “very chic area, trendy and youthful, fully in line with the style of our products.”
Revenues in China increased 14.7 percent to 63 million euros, accounting for 10.4 percent of the total. “We consider the performance in China to be significant, consistent with the long-term growth forecasted in our ‘Celestial Empire’ project. This market undoubtedly has a great potential, both for the monobrand and multibrand channels, and we would like to gradually seize these opportunities, maintaining brand’s prestige and allure,” the company said.
Sales in the rest of the world grew 12.3 percent to 66.2 million euros, representing 10.9 percent of the total.
The retail monobrand channel was up 14.6 percent to 339.5 million euros, accounting for 55.9 percent of the total. Like-for-like sales grew 4.2 percent.
As of Sept. 30, the company had 106 boutiques compared to 100 at the end of December 2018.
The wholesale monobrand channel grew 7.7 percent to 32.5 million euros, accounting for 5.4 percent of the total. The network has 30 boutiques compared to 27 at the end of December 2018.
The wholesale multibrand channel was up 4.1 percent to 235.7 million euros, representing 38.8 percent of the total.
In line with the 2019-21 plan, the company invested about 53 million euros in 2019, compared with 45 million euros in 2018. Expenditures were mainly channeled to support selected openings and increases in some doors, contributing to the growth in luxury department stores, and the renewal and expansion of the brand’s showrooms. Other investments included those fueling production, logistics and digital IT.
The net financial position is equal to about 30 million euros, compared with 14.5 million at the end of December 2018 thanks to the positive cash flow generated by operating activities, the “sound management” of the commercial working capital, and the significant investments under way, the company noted.
The group is to release final 2019 figures on March 11.