We have already reported the excellent results achieved last year by LVMH and Hermès, which contrast with the rather disappointing results of two more footwear-specific luxury goods companies, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod's (see also the news briefs in this issue).

Kering did even better in 2018 with an increase of 46.6 percent in the operating profit of its continuing operations – which now exclude Puma and some other brands – to €3,943.8 million for the year. The operating margin rose by four full percentage points to 28.9 percent of sales, and the Ebitda margin improved by 3.5 percentage points to 32.5 percent. Net earnings went up by 108.1 percent to €3,715 million, thanks in part to a capital gain of €1,095 million from the loss of control in Puma.

Driven by Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, the group's consolidated revenues went up by 26.3 percent to €13.7 billion with a rise of 29.4 percent on a comparable, currency-neutral basis. All regions contributed to the group's exceptional growth. Sales rose in local currencies by 37.8 percent in North America, 23.9 percent in Japan, 33.8 percent in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region and 23.7 percent in Western Europe.

In particular, Gucci's operating income rose by 54.2 percent to €3,275.2 million on sales of €8,284.9 million, which were up by 36.9 percent on a comparable basis. Saint Laurent grew at a more moderate pace of 18.7 percent, reaching a level of €1,743.5 million, but its Ebit margin improved also as its operating income rose by 21.9 percent to €459.4 million. Sales and profits declined at Bottega Veneta, however, due to slower tourist traffic, especially in Western Europe. On the other hand, Kering mentioned “stellar” performances for Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.

The group's wholesale revenues increased by 24.1 percent last year. Sales through directly operated stores (DOS) went up at a strong rate of 31.0 percent, accounting for more than 77 percent of the total turnover and topping the €10 billion mark for the first time. Online sales soared by 71.3 percent.

Due to a tough basis of comparison, the group's total revenues went up by 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, including a 25 percent increase at its DOS. Gucci's sales remained buoyant, rising by 28.1 percent as compared to the same quarter of 2017.