Feb 1, 2021
Ferragamo sales fall amid talk of management overhaul
Feb 1, 2021
Sales at Italian fashion group Salvatore Ferragamo fell by 20% in the fourth quarter, broadly in line with expectations, as new lockdowns in Europe to fight a resurgence of COVID-19 more than offset a strong rebound in China.
Ferragamo, which according to some sources close to the matter could be looking to overhaul its management to turn itself around before a possible sale, has been hit harder than most rivals by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ferragamo family, which controls the brand famous for shoes worn by Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn, has repeatedly denied any plans to sell, but speculation was revived recently by looming changes to the make-up of the board of directors.
The family holding company said last week the new board of Ferragamo, which will be appointed in April, would have fewer members and more independent directors, indicating the family will be less involved in the running of the business.
The Ferragamo Finanziaria holding company, which controls the group with a 54% stake, also named former Goldman Sachs banker Claudio Costamagna to its own board. Other family members hold an additional 10.7%.
The COVID-19 pandemic complicated efforts to revamp the brand by Chief Executive Micaela Le Divelec, whose term expires in April. Two sources said that Le Divelec, together with creative designer Paul Andrew, may step down in coming months. The company declined to comment.
Full-year sales plunged by a third to 916 million euros ($1.1 billion), a touch higher than the consensus estimate of 911 million euros provided by Refinitiv but double the 16% fall suffered by industry leader LVMH.
Ferragamo said that its retail channel in China, the strongest market for luxury groups, had enjoyed sales growth of 33.9% at constant exchange rates in the fourth quarter.
However, overall sales in the Asia Pacific region fell by 11.2% in the quarter, hit by the negative performance of the wholesale channel, and travel retail in particular. Sales fell
by 34% in Europe, Middle East and Africa and by 27% in North America over the period.
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