French luxury group Kering confirmed a broad recovery in sales of high-end goods in the third quarter as Asian and U.S. demand helped revenues improve, though its star Gucci brand underperformed rivals.
Kering, which also owns Saint Laurent, beat market expectations as its comparable sales were nearly unchanged in the third quarter from a year earlier.
Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, dropped by 1.2% in the three months to September, compared with analyst forecasts for an 8% to 13% fall, and after plummeting nearly 44% in the previous quarter.
Like rivals including Birkin-handbag maker Hermes and Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, Kering was hit hard by store closures during lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Gradual re-openings and the easing of lockdowns during the summer helped sales pick up, even though new restrictions are now being imposed across Europe to contain a spike in contagion numbers.
Kering struck a cautious note about the coming months, with Financial Chief Jean-Marc Duplaix saying the outlook remained extremely uncertain.
He added that Gucci had done well in Asia and the United States but had still been penalized by global travel restrictions.
“Gucci has perhaps suffered more than others from the lack of tourist flows,” Duplaix told reporters.
Comparable sales at Gucci, one of the fastest-growing luxury brands of recent years, fell by 8.9% in the period, while all of the group’s other fashion labels grew. Bottega Veneta had a particularly strong performance with sales rising 21%.
Alessandro Sicuro for Sure-com America