French luxury goods maker Chanel was hit hard by the luxury spending slump last year, leading to a sharp drop in profit and sales, according to figures filed with the Amsterdam exchange. Chanel International said operating profit in the year to Dec. 31 fell 23 percent to $1.6 billion on revenue some 17 percent lower to $6.24 billion.
Controlled by secretive billionaires Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Chanel is one of the world's biggest luxury brands alongside LVMH's Louis Vuitton. Chanel declined to say what businesses and regions were included in the figures and refused to comment on them. By comparison, Louis Vuitton, which also does not publish separate numbers, makes an estimated 8 billion euros in annual sales.
In France, Chanel filed numbers for its cosmetics and perfume businesses that showed revenue last year reached 2.6 billion euros ($2.91 billion), down 21 percent against the previous year. To boost the sales of No. 5, once the world's most sold perfume, Chanel is this month re-launching the scent created in 1921 with a new version called "No. 5 L'eau." Louis Vuitton unveiled last month its first ever collection of perfumes, sold only in its own stores.
Chanel competes head on with L'Oreal and the group's best-selling perfume "La Vie est Belle" by Lancome and with LVMH's "J'adore" by Dior.
In January, Chanel said Maureen Chiquet, who was one of the only women at the head of a big luxury brand, had resigned over strategic differences. Alain Wertheimer took over her position.