Celine's sales have skyrocketed since Hedi Slimane's arrival
Mission accomplished, or virtually so, for Hedi Slimane at Celine. The luxury label owned by LVMH, which is showing in Los Angeles on Thursday December 8, unveiling its Fall/Winter 2023-24 collection, is in rude health. Despite the pandemic, Celine has indeed greatly stepped up the pace of its growth ever since the star designer took over as creative director in 2018.
The luxury group led by Bernard Arnault does not usually disclose the individual results of its many labels. In the 2021 financial report, LVMH simply underlined with regards to Celine, currently led by CEO Séverine Merle, “the huge success of the ready-to-wear lines created by Hedi Slimane and of leather goods,” as well as “the excellent reception of [Celine's] perfume collections.” In October, with the publication of its Q3 results, LVMH once again highlighted “the strong growth of [Celine's] ready-to-wear” and “the success of its new high-end leather goods line.”
But what is the actual reality behind LVMH’s appraisals? The group remains very coy about Celine's exact sales results, which are reportedly well over €1 billion in total, according to analysts. FashionNetwork.com was able to obtain the details of the latest results for the Celine S.A. company. Although these do not cover all of the label's business, they do confirm the success of the project spearheaded by Slimane since he joined Celine. The label has been growing regularly since 2018, with the exception of the downturn recorded in 2020 due to the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Proof of this vigorous performance is that fact that Celine S.A. reached a revenue of €728 million in 2021, as FashionNetwork.com has found. And while Slimane, whose sexy-rock style marked a total break with that of his predecessor Phoebe Philo, was strongly criticised after his first shows, he was later able to recalibrate. The Parisian bobo-chic spirit Slimane subsequently infused in his collections managed to win over buyers again, while rejuvenating the customer base with easy-to-wear, attractive items.
Slimane completely overhauled the label’s visual identity, from logo to name, jettisoning the accent in Celine. He did it via social media and through advertising campaigns that were most often lensed by him in person. He also redesigned the label’s stores’ interiors, while new openings have multiplied. In total, the number of Celine points of sale worldwide currently stands at 178, between monobrand stores, shop-in-shops and corners, including 10 stores in Paris alone. The number of employees increased from 404 in 2017 to 675 four years later.
Above all, Slimane has considerably broadened the label’s assortment, by launching the first men’s line by Celine, which was an immediate hit with retailers, delighted to feature menswear by Slimane again, always the designer’s main strength. To elevate Celine's brand image, raising it to the very top end of the spectrum, and expand the product range, Slimane also launched a high perfumery collection and a line of luxury leather goods, in which artisanal craftsmanship goes hand in hand with Slimane's creative vision.
At the time of Slimane's appointment, the group announced it wanted to double Celine's sales within five years. The pandemic has slowed down this plan, but the goal should soon be reached, at least by Celine's French company. Before the Slimane era, Paris-based Celine S.A. used to generate a revenue of approximately €400 million (it was €441.3 million in 2017, and €429.5 million in 2016). In 2018, sales were just shy of the half-billion mark, at €494 million. They rose to €611 million in 2019, and dropped back to €409 million in 2020, during the pandemic.
In 2021, Celine S.A. generated a revenue of €728 million, soaring by 78% compared to 2020. It is worth noting that last year, LVMH’s fashion & leather goods division posted a growth of 42%, to €30.9 billion, out of a total of €64 billion for the group as a whole. The label’s sales growth in 2021 over the pre-pandemic level of 2019 was 19%. Celine's net income in 2021 was €122 million, compared to a loss of €93.5 million in 2020 and a profit of €26.1 million in 2019, a year of strong investment, while it had been €114 million in 2018.
In 2021, Celine's export sales were worth €564.5 million, up 81%, while sales in France stood at €162.9 million (equivalent to a 67% rise). Specifically, sales in Celine's French stores increased by 21% to €74.3 million. E-tail results notably skyrocketed, growing 143% in 2021 to €40.3 million. According to the latest business trends reported by the LVMH group, it would not be surprising if 2022 turned out to be Celine's best-ever fiscal year.
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