INTERNATIONAL - Gucci designer Alessandro Michele’s crystal- and sequin-covered creations continued to light a fire under consumers in the holiday season.
The Italian fashion label closed out the year with another quarter of runaway growth, with comparable sales rising 45 percent in the fourth quarter, owner Kering said in a statement. That’s helped drive the Paris-based company to its most profitable year on record.
Millennial shoppers have been at the forefront of rebounding sales in the luxury industry, with customers under the age of 35 making up 85 percent of growth last year, according to consultancy Bain & Co. Recurring operating profit rose 56 percent last year to 2.95 billion euros as Kering brands including Saint Laurent and streetwear label Balenciaga joined Gucci in reaping the fruit of youth-focused reboots.
"We have a new generation of designers who have a more global vision," Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Duplaix said in a call with reporters.
Gucci has attracted young shoppers through collaborations with Instagram poets and special pop-up events where they could personalize their handbags with butterfly and flower motifs. Balenciaga continued pushing logo hoodies and sock sneakers while Saint Laurent splashed out on a Paris Fashion Week spectacle, strutting out thigh-high feather boots and sparkly warm-up jackets in a nighttime show framed by the Eiffel Tower.
Last month Kering took a step toward fulfilling its aim of becoming a pure-player in luxury fashion when it proposed spinning off 70 percent of shares in German sportswear brand Puma to its own investors. Duplaix said investors will get 1 Puma share for every 12 of Kering.