PARIS — Kering said group net profits soared 120 percent in 2017, driven by “spectacular” growth at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and a strong performance by Balenciaga, which was the group’s fastest-growing brand in the fourth quarter.The French conglomerate — whose stable also includes Bottega Veneta, Boucheron and Alexander McQueen — posted sales of 15.5 billion euros in 2017, up 27.2 percent on a comparable basis.Revenues generated by Kering’s luxury activities passed the 10-billion-euro mark for the first time, with Gucci topping 6 billion euros in sales over the period.Reporting full-year results before the market opening, Kering said it registered net income of 1.78 billion euros in 2017. Recurring operating profit rose 56.3 percent to a record high of 2.95 billion euros.“Kering delivered a phenomenal year in 2017,” François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said in a statement.“We created over 3 billion euros in additional revenues in a single year, and generated more than a billion in additional EBIT. Gucci, whose performance was nothing short of spectacular, is amplifying its desirability across all markets,” he added.The news comes after rival French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton last month reported record results for 2017, with net profit jumping 29 percent to break the threshold of 5 billion euros.Kering said in January it was spinning off the majority of its holding in German sporting goods firm Puma in order to focus completely on its luxury brands.“In a global environment that remains uncertain, we will not relax our vigilance, but we are confident that the complementary of our houses, our geographic footprint, the diversity of our customer base and the strengths of an integrated luxury group will enable us, this year again, to do much better than our markets,” Pinault said.The group reported sales of 4.26 billion euros in the fourth quarter, up 27.4 percent at comparable exchange rates. Luxury activities posted organic growth of 30.5 percent and the sports and lifestyle division registered a rise of 14 percent.Gucci maintained its strong momentum under creative director Alessandro Michele, with organic sales rising 42.6 percent in the three months to Dec. 31 to 1.82 billion euros.
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