The rebound of the luxury business appears to be confirmed by the performance of Gucci Group, which saw its sales increase by 4.7 percent to €895 million for the first quarter, up by 6.1 percent in comparable terms. All of the group's luxury brands lifted their sales from one month to the next, and orders are on the rise.
The increase was driven by emerging markets, where Gucci Group's sales jumped by 15 percent. Its turnover in Greater China soared by 39 percent, strongly contributing to a sales increase of 22 percent in Asia-Pacific ? although this excludes Japan, the only mature market where the group's sales failed to pick up.
The group lifted its sales by 9 percent in its own stores, while wholesale revenues remained stable. Its leathergoods sales were up by 9 percent for the quarter.
The Gucci brand's performance was in line with the group, with sales up by 3.8 percent to €588.7 million and by 5.3 percent in comparable terms. Sales in company-owned stores climbed by 7 percent, while wholesale sales increased just slightly but its orders were up at a double-digit rate.
Gucci's Western European sales enjoyed robust sales growth of 11 percent for the quarter, only to be outdone by the Asia-Pacific region, where sales jumped by 21 excluding Japan. Again, Greater China propelled the brand's growth in the region, with sales up by 37 percent in the country.
Bottega Veneta did even better, with a sales increase of 9.5 percent to €113.6 million, up by 11 percent in comparable terms. An international marketing campaign pushed sales at double-digit rates in all regions with the exception of Japan. The brand boasted sales growth of a whopping 61 percent in Greater China, which made up 17 percent of its turnover for the quarter. In fact, even without Japan, Asia-Pacific is the largest market for the brand, with a share of 31 percent and a sales rise of 26 percent. However, Bottega Veneta's European sales also rose sharply, up by 29 percent, and North America managed an increase of 13 percent.
Yves Saint Laurent ended the quarter with a slight sales decline, down by 1.7 percent to €58.7 million, a dip of 0.7 percent in comparable terms. Sales in its own stores were up by 12 percent, with improvements in all regions, including Japan. The brand's wholesale sales shrank by 19 percent for the quarter, but orders for the second half of the year were up at double-digit rates. Royalties from perfumes and cosmetics rose by 8 percent, while the brand's leather also did better.
Western Europe was the only region where YSL's sales were on the slide, down by 6 percent for the quarter, due entirely to a sharp decline in wholesale sales. On the other hand, sales increased by 19 percent in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, where the brand's sales inched up by 2 percent. North American sales also firmed up by 10 percent.
Sales of other brands in the Gucci group grew by 7.6 percent to €133.8 million, an increase of 8.9 percent in comparable terms, driven by a double-digit sales rise at Balenciaga and outstanding performances by Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
Gucci Group's parent company, PPR, ended the quarter with sales of €4,129 million, up by 1.2 percent in reported terms and by 1.3 percent on comparable terms. While Gucci Group contributed the strongest sales increase, PPR also enjoyed growing sales for Fnac, its retail banner for cultural and electronics products, as well as Conforama, a furniture retailer. The tally was depressed by slightly declining sales at the Redcats mail-order group and at Puma, as reported extensively in Sporting Goods Intelligence Europe. Among the most interesting developments at group level, PPR's internet sales rose by 14 percent in the quarter to reach about 13 percent of its turnover.