MILAN — OTB founder Renzo Rosso had an extra skip in his step on Friday, as he proudly revealed his group has stayed true to the values of solidarity and “founding values” during the COVID-19 pandemic, while growing at the same time and expecting to reach revenues of 1.5 billion euros by the end of the year.
So much so, that he revealed the initial public offering, which he recently hinted at, is now expected to take place in 2024.
“This is a good moment for OTB and we expect a beautiful 2022, especially in the high-end range,” Rosso said during a lunch at the Jil Sander headquarters, flanked by the group’s chief executive officer Ubaldo Minelli, who added that the group’s sales are up 21 percent compared with September last year and back to 2019 levels.
This year, the company expects an EBITDA margin of 18.5 percent and an operating profit of 8 percent.
Rosso said that while the beautiful and sleek showroom overlooking Milan’s medieval Castello Sforzesco served the purpose of the meeting, he was eager to finally identify the potential location of OTB’s headquarters in Milan, most likely in the new Scalo Porta Romana area, near Fondazione Prada. As reported, the strategic former railway yard covering 20 hectares, or almost 50 acres, is set for a major revamp that will potentially include a highline crossing the area from west to east and accommodations for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes competing in the 2026 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Rosso enthused about the growing importance of Milan, which he sees as soon becoming “the capital of Europe” and said he hoped to be able to reveal the site of the new OTB headquarters at the end of January.
“We have several real estate projects in the pipeline,” Rosso said, in particular for Jil Sander — the first store in Shanghai will open at Plaza 66 in January. OTB has also acquired the site of the existing flagship in Milan, in Via Verri, which will be entirely renovated with a new concept.
“Today, Jil Sander is a Milanese brand,” he underscored, and as such it should be well represented in the city, he contended.
Sales of the spring 2022 Jil Sander men’s wear collection were up 80 percent and the women’s collection was up 32 percent, he said proudly. OTB acquired Jil Sander, which is designed by Luke and Lucie Meier, in March.
Like-for-like sales for the brand were up 51 percent, he said. “We expect Jil Sander to break even — and even before 2022,” Rosso said. There are 34 existing Jil Sander stores and Rosso is planning to open a new boutique in New York soon.
Minelli said the company put in place “structural interventions” that were meant for the next three years and that were accelerated by the pandemic. “We’ve always had a positive net financial position, but, after dropping to 25 million euros in 2020, this year, we’ll report it will reach 300 million euros,” he said.
The executive and Rosso said they worked with their wholesale accounts, about 2,000 clients, to defer payments during the pandemic. The wholesale channel accounts for 40 percent of sales. Rosso also said managers donated their holidays and also taxed themselves on a voluntary basis to help those employees that needed help during the health emergency. OTB employees total 6,500, of which 2,200 are in Italy.
Rosso also pointed to the importance of the online channel, which for Diesel accounts for 15 percent of sales, through the direct platform and for 15 percent through indirect sales.