MILAN — The performance of Tod’s SpA in 2018 reflected its new industrial plan and “the strategic decision to invest significant financial resources to support future revenue growth,” said chairman Diego Della Valle on Monday as the Italian group reported a 33.6 percent decrease in net profits last year.
In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, earnings, net of minority interests, totaled 47.1 million euros, compared with 71 million euros in the previous year.
Revenues decreased 2.4 percent to 940.5 million euros, compared with 963.3 million euros in 2017.
“We are working to ensure that the development plan for the coming years can be fully implemented as soon as possible. We are convinced that the business model we are developing for each brand is the right one, especially considering the world of strong and well-structured brands we are competing with,” explained Della Valle, touting the quality of the group’s products and its retail distribution. “Improving its efficiency and sales results is one of the most important objectives, which would allow us to obtain the desired results quickly. The collections now in stores are collecting a very positive acceptance from our customers; the communication strategy, in all its forms and in all its channels, is appropriate and will be stronger and more focused….Given the financial stability of our group and thanks to the high caliber of the current management team, we are confident to meet our goals.”
In 2018, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization dropped 26.3 percent to 118.3 million euros, compared with 160.5 million euros, and with a 12.6 percent margin on sales. The performance was affected by the sharp acceleration in communication and marketing expenses and the higher costs associated with the strengthening of the design teams, which started in the second half of last year.
Operating profit was down 35.8 percent to 71.7 million euros, compared with 111.7 million euros, in 2017.
During a conference call with analysts, asked to comment on the performance, chief executive officer Umberto Macchi di Cellere ticked off the initiatives set in motion, including the e-commerce and omnichannel projects and the collaborations “to improve visibility,” such as the one with Alessandro Dell’Acqua.
By brand, Tod’s sales totaled 498.7 million euros, down 3.3 percent, affected by lower purchases of tourists in Europe and political and economic uncertainties in Italy and in France.
Hogan revenues were 206.1 million euros, up 1.1 percent as the weakness of the Italian market was more than offset by a solid double-digit growth recorded abroad.
Sales of Roger Vivier totaled 173.5 million euros, down 3.2 percent, but revenues picked up with the arrival in stores of products designed by Gherardo Felloni, “which are getting excellent feedback,” said the company. The brand was also impacted by weaker business in Europe, balanced by good sales in Asia.
Fay revenues were down 3.5 percent to 61.3 million euros, affected by the weakness of the domestic market. By categories, the group’s core footwear division was down 1.9 percent to 743.7 million euros. Leather goods and accessories totaled 128.6 million euros, a 5.3 percent decrease. Sales of apparel reflected the Fay brand, decreasing 2 percent to 67.3 million euros.
Asked about pricing and positioning, Macchi di Cellere said he saw “no issue” in the pricing and that the company was working on “catching” Millennials’ and Asians’ spending power, developing marketing initiatives and the collections, as well as boosting visibility on social media.
Revenues in Italy fell 5.4 percent to 282.2 million euros, mainly due to the persistent weakness experienced by this market. In the rest of Europe, the group’s revenues totaled 244 million euros, inching down 0.5 percent.
In the Americas, sales amounted to 73 million euros, falling 6.5 percent, hurt by the wholesale channel. At constant exchange, sales were down 1.4 percent. The retail channel registered positive results, especially because of purchases from local customers.
The group’s sales in Greater China edged down 0.8 percent to 210.3 million euros. At constant exchange, they were up 3.2 percent and showed an acceleration in the fourth quarter. The company reported positive results in Mainland China, which represented approximately 60 percent of this region, in Hong Kong and in Macao.
In the “Rest of the World” area, revenues were 131.1 million euros, up 0.9 percent.
Retail sales totaled 607.8 down 2.1 percent, representing approximately two-thirds of the group’s turnover.
Like-for-like sales at constant exchange were down 3 percent, showing a worsening of sales in Italy and the rest of Europe, despite the improvement registered in Greater China. Chief financial officer Emilio Macellari said the spring collection had “ a more than encouraging start. I expect like-for-like in 2019 will be similar to 2018.”
He said the consensus of a 3 percent top-line growth was “reasonable and not particularly challenging.”
As for the profitability in 2019, he said the year will still be one of transition. “I will be satisfied if we can have a stable or slightly increasing profitability.”
As of Dec. 31, the group counted 284 directly operated stores and 120 franchised stores, compared to 275 directly operated stores and 112 franchised stores at the end of December 2017.
Revenues to third parties totaled 332.7 million euros, down 2.8 percent, impacted by weakness of this channel in important markets such as Italy and the U.S.
In 2018 investments in tangible and intangible fixed assets amounted to 44 million euros, compared to 36.6 million euros in 2017, mainly devoted to the widening and refurbishment of the directly operated stores network, including, for example, the renovation of the Tod’s boutique in London on Sloane Street, in collaboration with architect India Mahdavi. Macellari said capital expenses in 2019 will range between 40 million euros and 50 million euros, with 45 million euros “a reasonable target.”
Asked about the Della Valle family’s purchase of shares revealed in December, Macellari said the family will own 68 percent of the total share capital by the end of October.
The group is moving its Tod’s boutique in Tokyo from Omotesando to Ginza, and in Milan from Via della Spiga to via Montenapoleone, to open soon.
In Tokyo, the group is selling the property of Omotesando, “considering real estate is at an all-time high,” said Macellari.