Gucci is reaping the benefits of its new creative and management duo - creative director Alessandro Michele and CEO Marco Bizzarri - who have been in place since the beginning of the year. The famed Italian design house, which reported double-digit growth for the first time since 2012, confirmed its stellar turnaround with a 17 percent rise in third-quarter like-for-like sales, helping make up for a 10.9 percent drop in sales at sister brand Bottega Veneta.
According to François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kering, parent to Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Puma, and Bottega Veneta, among other brands: "Our excellent sales in the third quarter underscore the relevance of our strategy and the effectiveness of its execution. In a complex environment, we stepped up the pace of revenue growth and continued to gain market share. Thanks to the creativity of our brands and the outstanding customer experience they offer, we achieved double-digit increases across all geographic regions excluding Japan."
Pinault continued on to say, "Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent performed remarkably well, while Puma confirmed its solid growth trajectory [Puma's shoes division posted 17% growth, fuelled by the success of new models such as Ignite, Fierce and Fenty]. We have laid the foundations for steady, sustainable growth, and are highly confident about the full year."
A statement from the brand notes that sales from Gucci's e-commerce website increased by more than 50 percent during the quarter. Moreover, the response to the brand's Spring/Summer 2017 runway show, "one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the Milan Fashion Week," was "enthusiastic," per Gucci. The brand asserted that its collections "have continued to meet the approval of its clientele while attracting an increasing number of new customers. The brand - which accounts for more than 60 percent of Kering's operating profit - has a particularly innovative digital strategy, which included in the quarter acclaimed partnerships with artists (GucciGhost product line and the #24HourAce initiative) and capsule collections sold exclusively online (Gucci Garden)."
YVES SAINT LAURENT
In addition to Gucci's successes, Kering reported that Yves Saint Laurent continued to enjoy "extremely strong growth" in the third quarter, with revenue rising by an exceptional 33.9% on a comparable basis and 34 percent as reported. This latest increase in sales was achieved across all geographic regions and product categories, including men's and women's Ready-to-Wear as well as Shoes and Leather Goods.
New collections, including handbag models such as the Sunset Monogramme, continue to be met with great excitement by the clientele, while permanent collections remain enduringly popular. "This enthusiasm can be witnessed both in the brand's stores and on its e-commerce website, revenue from which nearly doubled in the third quarter," says Kering. The first collection of Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent was shown on September 27 at the Maison's future headquarters on rue de Bellechasse on Paris's left bank, to great acclaim.
BRIONI AND BALENCIAGA
As for Brioni, which also falls under the conglomerate's umbrella, there was little mention of the suiting brand. Having ousted its creative director, Justin O'Shea, after an exceedingly brief six month tenure, the report merely stated: "Brioni built promising sales momentum in directly operated stores, particularly in North America, but was held back by its wholesale business. The Maison is moving ahead with initiatives to strengthen its market positioning."
Interestingly, little was made of Balenciaga, which has been in the spotlight in recent seasons thanks to the appointment of Vetements founder, Demna Gvasalia, as creative director. The report did note: "On 24 October, 2016, Kering announced the appointment of Cédric Charbit as CEO of the Maison Balenciaga, effective 28 November 2016. He will report directly to François-Henri Pinault."