MILAN — Marking the 21st consecutive quarter of double-digit growth since its initial public offering in 2013, Moncler reported a 14 percent increase in revenues in the three months ended March 31, reaching sales of 378.5 million euros, boosted by all regions and channels.
This compares with 332 million euros in the same period last year. At constant exchange rates, sales grew 11 percent.
Chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini touted the “soundness” of the brand’s strategy, looking ahead “with high confidence,” despite a tough basis of comparison. “Our history makes us unique and it is precisely this heritage that has led us to try new paths over time, to climb unexplored mountains, and to reach ever higher peaks,” said Ruffini, trumpeting how the group “has no fear of reinventing itself. In the coming months, we will continue to focus on Moncler Genius to make it even stronger.”
During a conference call with analysts on Thursday after the end of trading in Milan, chief corporate and supply officer Luciano Santel underscored that this focus implies strong investments. “It is very important to keep investing in our brand. Whatever the scenario, how strong is the brand is what makes us successful, so we have to keep investing and not only in product and communication or retail, but also in back office, logistics, technology.”
To wit, Santel said there would be no slowdown in investments this year, with capital expenditure expected to total 110 million euros. Moncler is investing in its own online platform and in making the organization more flexible, “quick in reacting to any event as we can’t do much about [macroeconomic issues], or duty wars.”
Moncler will go live with its own online platform in Korea in the second half, most likely in July to capture the fall season, said Santel. “We are ready to start with the first test and half of our company is traveling to Korea next week. Korea is very important.” Santel explained that the company, although “very happy” working with Yoox Net-a-porter, is investing “to make sure it is able to run this business, if we want to. We want to make sure we can drive the car.”
E-commerce as a total, including multibrand e-tailers, accounted for around 8 percent last year. “This year it may even account for 10 percent but it is premature to say now,” Santel said responding to an analyst.
In the first quarter, revenues in Italy rose 6 percent to 45.7 million euros, accounting for 12.1 percent of the total, mainly driven by the retail channel.
In the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, sales climbed 12 percent to 108.1 million euros, representing 28.6 percent of the total. In particular, the Middle East, Germany and the United Kingdom registered important growth rates in both distribution channels. France was impacted by the “yellow vests” protests.
In Asia and Rest of the World, revenues increased 17 percent to 171.1 million euros, representing 45.2 percent of the total. Mainland China continued to lead the growth of the region in the period, with a stronger local demand, along with Korea. These two markets have significantly outperformed the remaining countries, while growth in Japan and in the rest of Asia has been influenced by a highly challenging basis of comparison, with a 39 percent growth last year. Santel said the company had seen a “further acceleration” of Chinese spending in March.
In the Americas, revenues grew 17 percent to 53.5 million euros, accounting for 14.1 percent of the total. The performance was driven by important improvements in both distribution channels and in the two main markets, the U.S. and Canada. “We are very positive about the U.S. and Canada, both markets are growing very nicely,” Santal said. “Our strategy is to develop not only volumes but quality, we plan to open shop-in-shops and we are working on converting some into concessions. A process is in place with Bloomingdale’s, for example.”
Revenues from the retail channel climbed 14 percent to 291.4 million euros compared with 256.2 million euros in the first quarter of 2018, driven by organic growth, the continued development of the mono-brand retail store network and a strong e-commerce performance.
The wholesale channel was up 15 percent to 87.1 million euros driven by the newly opened mono-brand wholesale stores, the positive reception of the spring/summer 2019 collections, and the further development of the e-tailers.
As of March 31, the company counted 197 directly operated stores, an increase of four units compared with Dec. 31, and 61 wholesale shop-in-shops, an increase of six units.
Santel said that the weather in the first quarter was “not favorable, pretty mild,” but that Moncler started shipping its spring collection to its wholesale accounts earlier.
For the full year 2019, he confirmed guidance of an 8 percent growth rate for Moncler’s wholesale business.
“A very positive impact of Easter in the second quarter was very visible. We are very positive about the current trend.” He noted that the launch of Moncler Genius last year took place in June, with Fragment, which performed very well, so much so that June this year “will be a nice battle with last year,” quipped Santel. However, he was at the same time “very positive” about the comparison, given the launch in June of Francesco Ragazzi’s Palm Angels’ capsule, which he described “a very hot brand. The collection is very good and strong.”
Moncler Genius has contributed to 8 or 9 percent of sales, and Santel does not expect the contribution to be much different this year. “We are not looking at volumes with this business, but to build a stronger perception of our brand. We are still doing a very selective activity, targeting different customers with each delivery and the plan for 2019 is to be even more selective than last year.”