REPORT Group revenue at Kering, at 2.7 billion euros (2.8 billion dollars) in the first quarter of 2015 increased 11.4 percent on first quarter of 2014. Luxury activities posted revenue growth of 11 percent. The revenue increase in directly operated stores, which account for 71 percent of sales, was driven by the positive trends recorded in Western Europe, where comparable sales were up 14 percent, and in North America, where comparable sales were up 3 percent.
Commenting on the positive performance during the quarter, François-Henri Pinault, Kering's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Group revenues, up in the first quarter of the year, reflect a complex economic and monetary environment as well as the transition underway at Gucci. Our priority today is to give our flagship luxury brand fresh impetus. Consequently, we expect a gradual improvement in our performances throughout the year.”
The Gucci brand, in a period of transition, posted sales growth of nearly 4 percent, down 8 percent on a comparable basis. Comparable sales in Gucci’s directly operated store network were up 6 percent in Western Europe and stable in the US. Performances elsewhere were mixed, due in particular to a strong base of comparison in Japan and ongoing tough market conditions overall in the Asia-Pacific region. Bottega Veneta posted revenue growth of 16percent and 3percent on a comparable basis. Sales recorded by directly operated stores were mainly driven by positive momentum in Western Europe, where sales jumped 34percent on a comparable basis.
Yves Saint Laurent continued to perform well across all regions and product categories, with sales up 34 percent as reported and 21 percent on a comparable basis. Directly operated stores delivered particularly strong performances in North America, Western Europe and Japan, where comparable sales rose 39 percent, 29 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Revenue from the group’s other luxury brands grew 14 percent, and were down nearly 4 percent on a comparable basis.
Couture & leather goods comparable sales were up 16 percent in directly operated stores, buoyed by Balenciaga and growth at Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. Watches & jewelry recorded mixed sales performances mainly resulting from the very strong comparison bases for Boucheron in Japan and the continued caution exercised by third-party distributors in the watches sector.
Sales generated by sport & lifestyle activities were up 13 percent as reported and up 4 percent on a comparable basis. Puma posted sales growth of 13 percent as reported and of 4.5 percent on a comparable basis, mainly driven by strong sales momentum in the footwear category.
During the first quarter of 2015, Kering and Safilo finalised their product partnership on January 12. The agreement will cover product development, manufacturing and supply of Gucci eyewear products and will be implemented from the fourth quarter of 2015. The company also appointed Roberto Vedovotto, CEO of Kering Eyewear, as a new member of its Executive Committee.