MILAN – Global expansion and the weaker euro boosted net profits and revenues at Moncler SpA in the first half ended June 30.

Driven by a strong performance in the U.S. and Asia and its retail channel, earnings climbed 88 percent to 34 million euros, or $39.8 million, compared with 18.1 million euros, or $24.8 million, in the same period last year.

Revenues were up 35 percent to 295.8 million euros, or $326 million, compared with 218.3 million euros, or $241 million.
At constant exchange rates, sales rose 26 percent.

The figures, said chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini during a conference call with analysts, “tell a clear story of constant success. I can’t avoid being happy.”

The performance, he added, “confirms the capacity to deliver superior, almost unique results,” leveraging a “powerful brand” and “a strong team.”

The ceo said the company still has “important months ahead,” with plans to “develop a superior quality supply chain,” its retail network, and expand complementary products and categories, such as knitwear, which Ruffini said already contribute significantly to business. Moncler, he explained, will continue to invest in and buy new facilities. He revealed that “a good opportunity is on the table” and that the company is “close to a strong solution to improve technology.”

“Although we have not lost sight of the challenges and uncertainties that persist, we remain focused on our strengths,” said Ruffini. The executive said the “season is starting fairly well.” For the full year, Moncler expects to report increased revenues and profits, driven by the group’s ongoing expansion in international markets, particularly in North America, Japan and Southeast Asia, through the development of the retail network and the selective consolidation of the wholesale channel.

In the first half, revenues in the Americas spiked 98 percent to 42.7 million euros, or $50 million, driven by the retail and wholesale channels in North America and Canada, and represented 14.5 percent of total. At constant exchange rates, sales would have risen 69 percent. Responding to an analyst, Ruffini cited a “very strong” wholesale business with Neiman Marcus, which “continues to grow,” defining the store as “one of Moncler’s major partners,” and pointing to plans to open more doors.

In September, Moncler will hold an “Art for Love” initiative with amfAR in New York, said Ruffini, with 32 leading photographers’ takes on the brand’s iconic Maya jacket.

In Asia and the Rest of the World, sales gained 54 percent to 102.7 million euros, or $120.1 million, accounting for 34.7 percent of the total, and mainly driven by the retail chain in Greater China and Japan. At constant exchange, revenues were up 36 percent. Ruffini underscored that Moncler will hold a big event in October in Tokyo to mark the opening of a flagship in Ginza “with an American artist. This is one of our first markets, we are fairly confident and happy.” Ruffini pointed to the larger number of Chinese tourists that regularly shop in that district.

Asked by analysts about the situation in Hong Kong, Ruffini said it’s “very volatile,” but Moncler “still has a good business, with a good positive sales trend. We are still fairly happy with the performance in the semester and in July.” Regarding discussions with landlords on rents, he said that “all luxury real estate owners are compact and are not negotiating, but in the future they might be.”

Moncler is also not adjusting prices this year, as part of “respecting [its] wholesale business. Next year, we will start the process to adjust the structure of the collection and prices to reduce the gap of the average selling price in Europe and Asia.”

In the first half, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region grew 20 percent, accounting for 33.4 percent of sales, led by France, the U.K. and Germany. In Italy, revenues rose 8 percent, representing 17.4 percent of the total.

Chief corporate officer Luciano Santel said Moncler has started working on the structure of travel retail, a “very important driver,” having conducted “an extensive analysis of potential locations,” with plans to launch a new format in 2016.
E-commerce is “growing very fast,” and the site, with improved technology, will be restyled next week.

Retail revenues totaled 201.4 million euros, or $235.6 million, a 65 percent gain. Comparable-store sales were up 22 percent.

The wholesale channel was down 2 percent to 94.4 million euros, or $110.4 million, affected by the newly established Korean joint venture, Moncler Shinsegae. Starting from Jan. 1 , the business in Korea, comprising 12 stores, was converted from wholesale to retail. Ruffini said he was confident Moncler would “rebuild “ business in Korea, as in other countries such as Japan.

As of June 30, Moncler operated 153 stores directly. The company expects to open 27 stores in 2015.

Dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the periods concerned.

Advertising expenses totaled 20.8 million euros, or $24.3 million, representing 7 percent of revenues, compared with 7.9 percent in the first half of 2014.

Capital expenditure totaled 21.6 million euros, or $25.2 million, compared with 24.4 million euros, or $33.4 million.

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