PARIS — SMCP, the owner of accessible luxury labels Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot and De Fursac, said sales fell 20.5 percent in the fourth quarter as the coronavirus crisis continued to weigh on business, including in France, its home market.
“As expected, our sales were impacted by the lockdown measures over the fourth quarter,” noted chief executive officer Daniel Lalonde.
The executive added that the recovery in China over the second half of the year, combined with tight cost management, has helped the company limit the impact of the crisis.
Sales for the quarter totaled 251.9 million euros, a 19.4 percent decline on an organic basis. Sales in France, its largest market, were down 18.6 percent, still better than the 33 percent decline in the Europe and Middle East region. Sales in Asia were up 1.9 percent. Digital sales, an important focus of the group, grew 43.1 percent.
Mainland China in particular is seen as a key driver of growth at the company, which has been emphasizing organic growth over the swift store expansion seen in the past.
In Asia, which is expected to account for 50 percent of the group’s growth by 2025, the group will continue to add stores to new cities, while investing in digital marketing, noted the executive, stressing the importance of drumming up interest with Chinese consumers through special activities. As the group focuses on organic growth, it will seek to build interest in its brands through marketing and plans are to double such investments starting next year.