Tod's enjoyed a rebound in its sales during the fourth quarter, rising by 4.5 percent to about €225 million and enabling the Italian group to finish the 2014 financial year with a turnover of €965.6 million, roughly in line with 2013 and 2012. Compared with 2013, full-year sales fell by 0.2 percent at current exchange rates and rose by 0.4 percent at constant rates compared, againd compared with 2013.

As the group continued to bloat its cost base by expanding its network of directly-operated stores (DOS), the flat sales results indicate that Tod's will again report a decline in its profitability for 2014, as it did for 2013. The company will release its complete annual results on March 12.

Financial analysts expect the company to announce gross operating profits, or Ebitda, of around €196 million and an operating profit, or Ebit, of over €150 million. They predict that the group will resume sales and profitability growth this year, with sales rising over €1 billion, Ebitda approaching €210 million and Ebit exceeding €160 million.

The group's chairman and chief executive, Diego Della Valle, said that Tod's is enjoying positive feedback for the spring/summer collection, which is already available in stores, and that he remains confident that the group will book positive results this year despite low visibility about the business environment.

By brand, annual revenues fell by 1.7 percent to €568.0 million for Tod's. Hogan was down by 2.1 percent to €212.4 million, Fay fell by 0.6 percent to €57.3 million and Roger Vivier rose by 11.6 percent to €126.9 million.

On a currency-neutral basis, Tod's' sales were down by 1.0 percent for the year, but they were up by 5.7 percent in the latest quarter, with gains in all markets except Greater China.

Hogan enjoyed double-digit growth in foreign markets during the year, while its Italian sales were again affected by a downsizing of the wholesale network. Roger Vivier's sales rose by 12.4 percent at constant exchange rates in 2014.

By product category, footwear sales were up by 0.5 percent to €743.6 million, while leathergoods and accessories were down by 3.3 percent to €155.6 million, and apparel sales down by 0.7 percent to €65.4 million. At constant exchange rates, revenues were up 1.0 percent for footwear, while leathergoods and accessories fell by 2.1 percent.

The group's total sales in Italy dropped by 3.7 percent to €311.2 million in 2014, but started to pick up in second half of the year, as the group completed the pruning of wholesale accounts that it had started in 2012. The country's share in the group's sales continued to shrink and represented 32.2 percent of total sales in 2014 against 33.4 percent in 2013 and 39.9 percent in 2012.

Sales in the rest of Europe increased by 6.5 percent to €221.3 million, led by Germany, the U.K. and Spain. At constant currency rates, sales in the region were up by 6.1 percent.

In the Americas, revenues fell by 3.3 percent to €87.3 million, down by 1.8 percent in local currencies. Revenues in the region were affected by the polar weather that hit North America at the beginning of the year and the temporary closure of two stores for refurbishing, including the New York flagship on Madison Avenue. Sales were positive in the fourth quarter in the Americas.

Sales in Greater China fell by 5.0 percent to €225.7 million, down by 4.4 percent in local currencies. They were affected by the Chinese government's clampdown on extravagance and from September by the protests in Hong Kong. Greater China was the Tod's group's only market to register negative sales scores in the fourth quarter.

In the rest of the world, the turnover increased by 10.3 percent to €120.1 million, driven by South Korea, Japan and Singapore. At constant currency rates, it went up by 13.6 percent.

By channel, revenues generated by sales to wholesale clients and franchisees were flat for the year at €349.6 million, but up 0.4 percent at constant currency rates. Revenues generated by DOS fell by 0.3 percent to €616.0 million, but were up 0.3 percent in constant currencies. Same-store sales declined by 7.1 percent for the full year but enjoyed an improvement in the last part of 2014, after a decline of 7.8 percent in the 45 weeks to Nov. 9.

At the end of December, the group had 232 DOS and 93 franchisees compared with 219 DOS and 84 franchisees a year earlier.