MILAN — There’s no doubt the year 2016 was “very difficult” for Italia Independent SpA, as the group’s chief executive officer Giovanni Carlino admitted on Friday, but a restructuring and a reorganization of the company are expected to turn things around in 2017.
In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, Italia Independent posted a net loss of 12.2 million euros, or $13.4 million, compared with a profit of 475,000 euros, or $527,250 in 2015. The company attributed this to investments connected to the brand’s internationalization and an increasingly competitive eyewear sector, as well as “a strong commercial push that has left too much product” in the market.
Sales decreased 30.2 percent to 27.6 million euros, or $30.3 million, compared with 39.6 million euros, or $44 million, in the previous year.
Carlino, who joined the company in November succeeding cofounder Andrea Tessitore, said Italia Independent has been paying for “mistakes made in the past in a market that becomes increasingly competitive.” Referring to “an important and significant relaunch plan” that the brand has initiated, Carlino expressed confidence it will allow it “to return to a healthy and sustainable growth. We also think that at a time of big strategic changes in eyewear, to have an identifiable and recognizable brand such as ours is an important added value.”
The company has been going through a reorganization following a capital increase of 15 million euros, or $16.5 million, subscribed last year by cofounder Lapo Elkann. Italia Independent has been cutting nonstrategic expenses, increasing its efficiency, and bringing in new key figures in planning and production, as well as reviewing its distribution in markets showing more growth potential.
“We are relaunching with a new team and renewed engagement, energy and intelligence,” said Elkann. “The numbers and the results of 2016 must not stop the important challenge that sees us and myself personally involved, and we are certain we will succeed thanks to the creativity, innovation and passion that we all inject in our work every day.”
Elkann touted the “unique and distinctive character” of the brand as an asset in a sector that is quickly changing.
The company posted an operating loss of 16.6 million euros, or $18.2 million, compared with an operating profit of 1.1 million euros, or $1.2 million, in 2015.
The group’s eyewear division reported decreases in Italy and abroad, except for the U.S., which posted a 33.7 percent gain to 1.5 million euros, or $1.6 million. Italy was down 39.4 percent to 9.2 million euros, or $10.1 million. Sales in France decreased 63.8 percent and were down 24.2 percent in Spain and 70 percent in Germany.
Italia Independent is presenting another watch and eyewear collaboration with Hublot at the Baselworld trade show, following the first collection presented in 2015. The company also presented a capsule collection with Jeremy Scott unveiled at New York Fashion Week.
In February last year the company acquired 70 percent of its supplier Alialux Srl, with an investment of 951,000 euros, or $1 million.
The group also includes communication firm Independent Ideas Srl, which proved to be a strong company asset, said the group.
Dollar figures were converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.