Ferragamo December sales better than expected, outlook positive – CEO

Italian luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo saw its December sales flourish with growth recorded across all markets, chief executive Michele Norsa said Sunday.

A stronger US dollar and falling raw materials prices should also help its 2015 performance, although volatility would likely continue to affect consumer trends, he added.

“We closed 2014, which was an eventful year, with a lot of volatility, with a very strong end of the year,” Reuters reported him as saying at the Milan stock exchange where Ferragamo showcased its autumn/winter 2015 men’s collection.

Sales in December posted “a very satisfactory performance, even better than our expectations,” he said.

In November, Ferragamo said it expected sales in the final quarter of 2014 to grow at least in line with the first nine months, allowing it to match its 2013 core profit margin in the full year.

Sales at Ferragamo rose 4.6% at current exchange rates in the first nine months of 2014 to €956.6m ($1.1bn). They were also up 6% currency neutral.

Norsa dismissed concerns about consumer price trends in the eurozone, where inflation in December turned negative for the first time since 2009.

“We’ve been living in the past years with inflation below 2%. Now, between 0.5 and 1.2% the difference is not that relevant. I believe what is more important is consumer confidence,” he said.

He pointed to the higher number of visitors to the recent Pitti Uomo menswear trade fair in Florence where organisers are reporting 15% more buyers this year compared with 2014.

Travel retail would continue to drive growth in 2015, he added. The Florentine group has the highest exposure in its sector to travellers spending in places such as airports.

Norsa said the Russian market accounted for less than 1% of Ferragamo’s sales and saw little impact from the country’s financial crisis.

“We are maybe more concerned [about] the lack of Russian tourist customers around the world,” he said.

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