Prada on Wednesday reported its lowest full-year profit since the luxury goods group floated in Hong Kong in June 2011, even as it said last year marked a turning point with the company “firmly on the pathway to sustainable growth”.
The Milan fashion house, which is also behind the Miu Miu brand, said profits in the year ended January 31 fell 16 per cent from a year ago to €278.3m. Analysts expected a slimmer decline to €294.7m. Profit growth has slowed for three consecutive years.
Prada had warned in February that revenues would fall by 9 per cent in the fiscal year and on Wednesday said net revenues fell 10 per cent to €3.18bn.
Like its rivals LVMH and Burberry, Prada suffered weaker sales for years as demand from China slowed amid a crackdown on corrupt gift giving, weakening tourism in Europe and logo fatigue that hurt designers.
However, the results showed that the decline in sales slowed in the second half of the year compared with the first. While demand in Japan had weakened as a stronger yen dissuaded Chinese tourists, and a decline in tourism in parts of Europe weighed on sales, growth in the UK was driven by local consumption and tourists taking advantage of the weaker sterling, while sales in Russia continued to outperform. Sales in Hong Kong and Macau also began to recover by the end of the year.
In an effort to revive sales, Prada has focused on strengthening its retail network, with selective store openings and closings last year, instead of just growing its store fleet. The company is also growing its partnerships with online retailers like Net-A-Porter and MyTheresa as it looks to develop its digital strategy and is working to improve the connection between social media and sales channels like WeChat, an app developed by TenCent.
Prada shares listed in Hong Kong are up nearly 32 per cent so far this year.