Sandro Men's Fall 2018

PARIS — SMCP, parent company of Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, continued its robust growth trajectory, posting a 14.1 percent rise in fourth-quarter sales to 256 million euros, lifted by fast growth in Asia.

“Another strong year,” said the group’s chief executive officer Daniel Lalonde in a call with journalists, citing the company’s sales and network expansion.

Annual sales reached 912 million euros, beating the company’s annual sales target of 900 million euros, and it confirmed its full-year guidance of 16.5 percent margin on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

SMCP has an appealing equity story that sets it apart from direct peers in the fashion sector,” Laurent Gélébart, analyst with Exane BNP Paribas, said in a research note e-mailed to clients. The quarterly sales figure beat expectations, around 3 percent higher than consensus estimates, noted the analyst who reaffirmed his outperform rating on the shares.

SMCP, the second largest listing on the Paris stock market last year, started trading publicly in October. Majority-owner Chinese textile conglomerate Shandong Ruyi Group planned to use the funds to pay off debt and fuel expansion abroad.

SMCP has set up more than 100 stores in China in the past three years.

“We are at early, early stages of growth in greater China. We’re in 21 cities in greater China,” Lalonde said. On a recent trip to the country, the executive said he noted “incredible growth” in those cities in terms of infrastructure, which he cited as one of the reasons for his optimism for that market.

The company sees global expansion in the midterm at around 110 new stores a year, with between 80 and 90 as directly operated stores, Lalonde said.

The company has navigated a challenging market in North America by sticking to its strategy of controlling its own retail network, he said.

“We had a great year in North America,” said the executive, who flew back to Paris from Los Angeles Tuesday morning. He noted the company “bucked the trend” with 20 percent growth at constant currency rates for the year.

In Europe, outside of France, a swift 27 percent pace of sales over the year, at constant rates, were driven by expansion in Italy and Germany, Lalonde said.

In France, the company gained market share to outperform a sluggish market, posting a 3 percent rise in sales over the year.

Digital sales rose 46 percent over the year, and have reached 12 percent of total annual revenues, the company said. North America represents the company’s biggest market in the digital sphere, which account for 21 percent of sales in the U.S., Lalande said.

“The overarching vision for me is that we are channel agnostic and try to do things in a seamless way so customers can choose how to interact,” the executive noted.

When it comes to potential acquisitions, the company is focusing on its existing brands, but will remain “pragmatic” as to potential opportunities.

“We want to stay focused, we’re a fast-growing company and don’t want to get distracted,” said Lalande, noting the company has been approached by other brands since its initial public offering.