PARIS — SMCP, the owner of Maje, Sandro and Claudie Pierlot, said revenues rose 13.8 percent in the third quarter, with double-digit growth across all brands. The group also confirmed its guidance for the full year.
Sales for the period totaled 247.7 million euros, up 14 percent at constant currency, powered by brisk overseas growth. That was driven by the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas, with sales up 31 percent and 41.8 percent at constant currency, respectively. Digital was a key strategic driver in the latter region.
The group’s sales in the nine-month period totaled 741 million euros, up 12.9 percent in reported terms and 15 percent on a constant currency basis.
During a call with journalists on Monday, SMCP chief executive officer Daniel Lalonde said North America, which represents the bulk of the group’s Americas business, is one of the group’s biggest markets in terms of penetration of digital sales. Alongside its own web site, the group has partner web sites with Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, with more than 25 percent of sales coming from digital channels.
Key brick-and-mortar openings in the region in the quarter included a 1,200-square-foot Maje flagship in Rockefeller Center, the brand’s fifth unit in Manhattan, and new freestanding Sandro and Maje stores at the CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver. The moves were in line with the group’s focus — “as a retail pure player both online and in brick-and-mortar” — on the optimization of its network through targeted closings and qualitative investments in key cities.
Despite a slight slowdown in Asia versus the previous quarter, Lalonde said he sees “tremendous potential” in China in the short, mid- and long-term in view of the unique positioning and “incredible brand desirability” of the group’s accessible luxury portfolio. SMCP is still in the early stages of building its retail network there, with 153 stores in Greater China versus 402 stores in France.
“We have a lot of white space ahead of us,” said Lalonde, adding that the group’s digital strategy in China is also developing nicely, both with its own web site, introduced last October, and through its two-year-old partnership with Tmall.
On its home turf of France, SMCP showed resilience with a flat performance despite high base comps, a lackluster market and unfavorable weather conditions. The country generated close to 36 percent of total sales in the quarter.
Since taking the helm of the company in 2014, Lalonde has steered it into more balanced territory geographically, bulking up sales abroad. “When I started four years ago, [France] was over 70 percent of our business and we’ve been able to expand internationally over that period, all the while gaining market share [locally],” he said, of a market where the store count has remained stable at around 482 doors.
SMCP is controlled by Chinese textile conglomerate Shandong Ruyi Group and was listed on the French stock market last October, generating funds to finance debt payments and fuel international expansion.
Lalonde also flagged a dynamic performance from the group’s strategic growth levers, accessories, men’s and digital, which has gone from representing 2.3 percent of the group’s overall sales four years ago to 14.3 percent in the first half of 2018. “Our digital penetration in Q3 is slightly higher than H1, so we keep on the upward trajectory on the digital penetration,” he said.
At Sandro, men’s is outpacing the women’s ready-to-wear business in terms of growth and made up close to 20 percent of total sales, he said, though the focus until now has been limited to France and Europe. The plan is to develop men’s internationally via the brand’s new, dual-gender, Sandro store concept.
“When we built our international business, we mainly did it through Maje and Sandro women’s stores,” Lalonde said. Giving “a right-size penetration” for Sandro men’s is “particularly important in Asia as we continue to build a lot of our network and renovate older stores,” he added.
Sandro, which opened 33 directly operated stores in the past 12 months, posted a 10 percent sales increase in the third quarter at constant currency, with progress on accessories and digital and a strong international performance.
Maje, which over the same period opened 34 stores internationally, clocked 20.6 percent growth at constant currency rates.
Claudie Pierlot, which in the past 12 months opened 22 stores in the Asia-Pacific region, saw a 10.1 percent uptick in sales.
The group confirmed its full-year financial guidance of more than 13 percent sales growth at constant rates. The company aims for full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin of around 17 percent.