PARIS — Raf Simons has passed his first fiscal year at Christian Dior with flying colors.
This story first appeared in the February 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
On Thursday, the French fashion house said profits from recurring operations increased 31 percent in the second half to 108 million euros, or $143.1 million, while revenues in the six months to Dec. 31 climbed 14 percent to 758 million euros, or $1.02 billion, a 20 percent improvement at constant exchange rates.
A Belgian designer, Simons was named Dior’s new artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections in 2012. His first designs arrived at retail in February 2013.
“He gave a lot of modernity, but based on the very strong savoir faire of the house,” Dior chief executive officer Sidney Toledano said in an interview. “Now we see the full impact.”
The brand’s “excellent” performance last year was driven by momentum in leather goods, men’s and women’s rtw, and accessories, Dior said.
Kris Van Assche, another Belgian designer, has overseen the Dior Homme men’s collections since 2007.
In leather goods, Toledano cited continued strength of lines like the Diorissimo, Lady Dior and Miss Dior handbags, the latter two fronted by Oscar-winning actresses Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively.
The executive noted that Simons gave a new verve to styles like the Lady Dior by bringing striking colors and innovative materials and treatments like dégradé.
In accessories, Toledano highlighted good results in shoes, and a “tremendous success” with fashion jewelry, with its Tribal pearl earrings quickly running out of stock.
Dior also hit a historic record for haute couture sales last year, and posted good results on high jewelry by Victoire de Castellane as well, Toledano said.
In the fourth quarter, sales advanced 14.4 percent to 389 million euros, or $522.3 million, while sales in Dior’s retail network posted an organic gain of 22 percent.
Dior opened 21 units last year — including in Sydney, São Paulo and Vietnam’s Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City — to end the year with about 200 stores.
Toledano recently returned from Jakarta, Indonesia, where Dior opened its second location, and Amsterdam, Florence and Vienna are among retail projects coming in the first half.
Asked about market signals in January and early February, he replied: “So far, the beginning of the year is giving us confidence. The trend is good.”
Toledano is particularly bullish on the U.S. market, given rising consumer confidence and surging tourism. He disclosed that Dior plans to bring its cruise show to New York in early May, noting that Simons’ modernist approach to fashion has been “very, very successful in the U.S.”
For the full year, Dior sales reached 1.42 billion euros, or $1.88 billion, a gain of 14 percent at actual exchange rates and 18 percent stripping out the impact of currency fluctuations. Full-year profits from recurring operations climbed 26 percent to 165 million euros, or $219.1 million.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.
French companies report sales quarterly and profits every six months. Results for the Dior fashion house, known as Christian Dior Couture, were released Thursday after the market closed as part of a financial release from Christian Dior SA, parent of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.