MILAN — Gucci expects sales to start heating up.
“I feel very confident going forward that we’ll have a strong fall for the Gucci brand,” chairman and chief executive Domenico De Sole told WWD in a phone interview Monday, citing the brand’s sales increases in the U.S., Japan and Europe during the month of August.
De Sole said the brand saw “strong double-digit growth” in both the U.S. and Japan and a “double-digit” sales jump in Europe. He declined to offer specifics. Although he stressed that these figures were not buoyed by promotional sales as they wrapped up in July.
De Sole said leather goods were the main sales drivers and the brand’s horse-bit handbags were experiencing an “unbelievable sell-through on a worldwide basis.”
A hot handbag is especially welcome news for Gucci, which earlier this year suffered a 96.6 percent drop in first-quarter profit. After stumbling last year with a merchandise mix that was too pricy, Gucci has since backtracked and introduced more inexpensive logo items into its stores.
Regarding the European market, De Sole noted that tourist flows to Europe have improved from the first quarter. A strong local customer base also boosted sales in the region, he said.
Other luxury companies that suffered in the first part of the year also indicated that recent trading patterns show promise.
A Prada spokesman on Monday similarly noted that August was a good month, particularly in the U.S. Analysts said Hermès July sales were up 4 percent. Swatch also said its sales had been “positive” in July.
HSBC late last week still forecasted a third consecutive year of earnings declines for luxury goods companies this year, but the bank added it is “more optimistic” that the sector likely hit bottom in the second quarter.