Kering Eyewear posts successful Q1 results
Kering Eyewear is on a roll, and recorded outstanding results at the start of 2023, while the fashion labels owned by French luxury group Kering posted single-digit growth at best. In Q1, Gucci’s sales increased by 1% only, and Saint Laurent’s by 8%. Bottega Veneta’s results were on par with the previous year, while sales for Kering’s other labels (including Balenciaga) slumped by 9%. Only Kering Eyewear posted enviable double-digit growth, progressing in all regions.
Between January and March 2023, Kering Eyewear generated a revenue of €433 million, up by a whopping 44% over Q1 2022 (and by 11% on a comparable basis), “driven by the positive performance of the brands in its portfolio,” as the company stated in a press release. Kering Eyewear recorded in fact the best results growth-wise within the group, even managing to exceed the revenue of Bottega Veneta, which reached €395 million in the period in question.
Kering Eyewear was founded in 2014 by Kering and CEO Roberto Vedovotto, and currently manages the eyewear collections of 17 labels. Its portfolio includes all the leading Kering labels (Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, MCQ, Boucheron and Pomellato), as well as Puma and various labels owned by the Swiss group Richemont (Cartier, Chloé, Montblanc, Dunhill and Alaïa), plus a series of eyewear brands bought by the company in the last three years.
Kering Eyewear expanded its scope with the acquisitions of Danish luxury eyewear brand Lindberg in 2021 and, in 2022, of US brands Maui Jim, renowned for its patented, cutting-edge sunglasses technology and Hawaiian heritage, and Zeal Optics, a producer of sustainable eyewear for outdoor activities, which was owned by Maui Jim.
“The strong contribution made by Maui Jim, which has been consolidated in the company's accounts from October 1 2022,” helped Kering Eyewear step up its growth pace at the start of this year, underlined the company, which also recently announced the acquisition of UNT Usinage & Nouvelles Technologies, one of its main suppliers of high-precision components, based in Morbier, France, in the Haut-Jura eyewear district.
This operation will enable Kering Eyewear, based in Padua, northern Italy, to strengthen its supply chain. UNT, a manufacturer of metallic mechanical components, is the third factory controlled by Kering Eyewear, alongside the Manufacture Kering Eyewear (formerly Manufacture Cartier Lunettes), located on the outskirts of Paris in Sucy-en-Brie, acquired in 2017, and Trenti Industria Occhiali, one of Kering Eyewear’s Italian suppliers, in which the company bought a stake of approximately 40% in 2019.
Unlike its competitor Thélios, the LVMH group’s eyewear specialist, which set up its own production facility from the start, Kering Eyewear originally chose to focus on eyewear design and development and on commercialisation, relying on a network of selected partners to produce its collections. A business model that guarantees a degree of flexibility. But the strong acceleration and scale achieved in recent years by the company, whose revenue now exceeds €1 billion, have prompted it to gain greater control over its supply chain.
In three years, and despite the pandemic, Kering Eyewear has doubled its revenue, from €596 million in 2019 to €1.11 billion in 2022, when the eyewear company recorded a recurring operating income of €203 million.
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