Italian luxury down jacket-maker Moncler posted a surge in sales and profits last year after launching new stores on some of the world’s most upmarket high streets.
The fashion brand, a favourite with celebrities including David Beckham, posted a better-than-expected 21 per cent jump in earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) to €201.6m (£145.9m).
Revenue rose 20 per cent to €694m, fuelled by strong growth in the Americas and Asia, where sales were up 42 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. Sales at stores open more than a year rose by eight per cent.
Moncler is an abbreviation of Monestier de Clermont, a mountain village near Grenoble in France where the brand was founded in 1952 to provide gear for mountaineers.
The Milan-listed company was the most successful European stock market flotation of 2013 after its shares soared almost 50 per cent on the first day of trading.
Its shares, initially priced at €10.20 apiece, rallied by 10.5 per cent yesterday to €14.80, valuing Moncler at around €3.7bn.
Since the flotation, Moncler has invested heavily in its expansion and had 172 stores at the end of last year after opening in cities including Sao Paolo, Istanbul and Hamburg. It has secured around 20 new locations for openings this year, including a flagship store in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza shopping district .
Most of this year’s planned shop openings would be in Asia, Moncler said, especially Japan, where it has significantly raised prices in the last quarter of 2014 to offset the weakness of the yen.
It also plans to open its first shops in Macau and Singapore, add four or five shops to its US network and have a few selected openings in Europe.
“Looking ahead to 2015, I have confidence in our growth despite the persistence of a number of uncertainties in the world,” Moncler’s chairman and chief executive Remo Ruffini said:
“Moncler brand perception has become stronger in all the markets in which we operate, we are focusing on excellence in all what we do, starting from our products, and we are continuing our project to develop a network of top quality retail stores,” he added.
Moncler said it would distribute a dividend of 12 cents a share, up from 10 cents last year.