MILAN — A growing global retail network and strong performances in the U.S. and Asia helped Moncler SpA report gains in profitability and revenues in the first nine months ended Sept. 30. A weaker euro also helped boost margins.
Net profit climbed 31 percent to 92.7 million euros, or $102.9 million, compared with 70.5 million euros, or $95.1 million, in the same period last year.
Revenues were up 25 percent to 561.5 million euros, or $623.2 million, compared with 449.3 million euros, or $606.5 million. At constant exchange rates, sales rose 17 percent.
“The performance tells a story of superior growth once again. We are very happy with these results, stronger than my own expectations,” said chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini during a conference call with analysts. “But even better than these numbers is that the Moncler brand perception is stronger.” Ruffini proudly trumpeted “people lining up all day outside the new Ginza store” in Tokyo, which opened last month.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 28 percent to 174.5 million euros, or $193.7 million, representing 31.1 percent of sales. The adjusted figure does not include nonrecurring costs related to the Moncler stock option plan and a revised value for the disposal of the “Other Brands Division,” which included Henry Cottons.
Adjusted operating profit increased 26 percent to 147.6 million euros, or $163.8 million.
“On the strength of these results, my team and I are ready to tackle the new challenges that await us, with the awareness that there is still much to be done and that we can make improvements every day to create an increasingly strong and robust group,” said Ruffini, noting that “the winter season started well in Europe and Italy and, since October, in Asia,” and that he was “very confident 2015 will be in line with the current consensus.” Chief corporate officer Luciano Santel concurred, saying that he believed the consensus for the year is “achievable,” and that “the most important part of the year is ahead of us,” pointing to December as a very important month. Analysts’ consensus estimates point to profits of 164 million euros, or $182 million, on sales of 869 million euros, or $964.6 million, in 2015.
“We are happy with the spring 2016 orders, not only in key markets but also in developing markets and in complementary categories,” said Ruffini, adding that he was also “very happy” with the performance in October and November, also because the two months showed a stronger Asia, Japan and China, which “impressed” him — less so Hong Kong. Korea is “reacting the right way” following Moncler’s buyback of its distributor starting in January. “We are building up something strong.”
Ruffini was also confident the U.S., which in the third quarter was “not as strong as others,” would become “very strong” during the winter months, from December to February.
Responding to an analyst, Santel admitted Asia showed a slowdown in the third quarter, reflecting the stock market’s volatility in August and September, but “we saw a positive trend starting early in October. We are not particularly worried, we are positive and confident in Asia.” The executives also touted “ a very strong increase in sales to Chinese tourists,” traveling to Japan, Macau and Korea.
In Europe, more than 60 percent of sales were made to tourists, and Italy also performed very well, they said, citing Milan and Rome, as well as Paris in France. Europe was “very successful” in the third quarter, and Italy is recovering after the recent doldrums. “October and November are very positive,” said Ruffini of the local market.
In the first nine months, the company grew 73 percent in the Americas. At constant exchange, sales increased 47 percent, driven by the expansion of both retail and wholesale channels in the U.S. and Canada.
In Asia and the Rest of the World area, Moncler revenues rose 33 percent.
The Europe, Middle East and Africa countries recorded a 16 percent gain, with positive results from France and the U.K. in particular. In Italy, revenues rose 3 percent driven by the good results of the retail channel.
Globally, retail sales gained 52 percent to 334.2 million euros, or $371 million. Like-for-like sales grew 13 percent. The wholesale channel was down 1 percent to 227.3 million euros, or $252.3 million, impacted by the conversion of the Korean business from wholesale into retail. Excluding Korea, wholesale grew 5 percent, due to “an excellent” performance in the U.S. and despite the reduction of some doors, mainly in Italy and Europe.
As of Sept. 30, Moncler had 166 directly operated stores, an increase of 32 units compared to the end of December 2014. Thirteen units opened in the third quarter in cities such as Boston, Costa Mesa, Singapore and Macau.
Two more stores will open by the end of the year. Twelve units are expected to open in 2016, including stores in New York’s Madison Avenue, London’s Old Bond Street and Seoul. “Fast but with no hurry, this is my motto even more than in the past,” Ruffini said.
He also said Moncler is eyeing bigger stores, and that the unit in New York will be one of the largest, covering 6,480 square feet on two floors. Ruffini said he has realized “the brand needs flagships to explain our whole strategy, as in Tokyo.”
Capital expenditure totaled 39 million euros, or $43.3 million, in the first nine months of 2015, compared with 39.4 million euros, or $53.2 million, in the same period of 2014. By the end of the year, Santel said he expected higher expenses in IT investments, refurbishments, and the acquisition of the Moncler trademark in Mexico for 3 million euros, or $3.3 million, and a production facility in Romania.
“This is very important strategically, the first step to integrate part of our production and in a strong industrial plan,” Ruffini said.
On Aug. 31, Moncler acquired, through its subsidiary Industries Yield Srl, a small apparel production unit in Romania, which was already a Moncler supplier. “This is a small company and a small part of the project, but important for research and development. Maybe in the future we will acquire another company, maybe bigger, to build up a new way to make product ,” Ruffini said.
He noted that knitwear was “positive” in the third quarter and that the shoe business that just started was also “good.”
Santel cited the payment of 8 million euros, or $ 8.8 million, in key money in the fourth quarter for the London flagship. “By the end of the year our total capex will be 60 million euros [$66 million] versus 50 million euros [$67.5 million] last year,” he said.
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