Kering Reports Third Quarter Growth, Saint Laurent Still on Top

Kering has released its third quarter results and it is yet another indication that Saint Laurent skeptics (you know them, they wear "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" tees) are off-base. According to a statement from Paris-based Kering, the luxury conglomerate's revenue is up 3.3% on a reported basis to €2.6 billion ($3.29 billion). As for the individual brands, there was some impressive growth, it just wasn't at Gucci. The Florence-based design house, which has been struggling to revamp its brand in the wake of logo-fatigue that hit the market quite hard in recent years, reported that sales fell 1.9 percent on a comparable basis. Positive sales trends were reported in directly operated stores in North America and Japan, thereby, "confirming the success of [its] brand elevation strategy." Gucci's sales, which were supported by new launches such as Swing and Bright Diamante handbags, were weak in China, however.

Bottega Veneta, which announced the appointment of a new CEO this week (along with new CEOs at Brioni and Christopher Kane), posted solid growth in the third quarter of 2014 with revenue jumping 11% on a comparable basis (up 10% in its directly operated stores). And then there is Saint Laurent ...

The Paris-based design house, under the creative control of Hedi Slimane, posted, by far, the most impressive results. According to Kering's statement: "Yves Saint Laurent once again turned in an outstanding performance, reporting third-quarter growth of 28% on a comparable basis, driven by exceptionally strong sales in directly operated stores, particularly in North America (up 47%) and Western Europe (up 26%). All product categories, in particular Leather Goods and Men's and Women's Ready-To-Wear reported solid growth." Interestingly, Kering refers to the house as Yves Saint Laurent. Thereby, clarifying any confusion regarding the 2012 rebranding. Just the ready-to-wear collection has undergone a name change.

Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault said in a statement: “Luxury activities held firm in a complex economic environment, thanks to a strong sales uptrend in our network of directly operated stores … Faced with uncertain market conditions, we remain vigilant.”