Versace Is on the Up and Up, Especially in America

The Italian brand did particularly well in the U.S. in the first quarter, with sales up 32 percent.
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Eliza Brooke
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The Italian brand did particularly well in the U.S. in the first quarter, with sales up 32 percent.
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty

If you'll recall, Versace sold a minority take of its business to Blackstone back in February in order to build out its portfolio brands and open new stores. Versace's new investors should be pleased with the brand's most recent sales results: In sales numbers posted Thursday, Versace reported good growth in the first quarter of 2014, with revenue up 17.2 percent.

Although Versace isn't typically synonymous with American style, sales were particularly good in the U.S., up 32.2 percent. (Maybe Lady Gaga had something to do with upping awareness here?). The brand reports that in retail and wholesale combined, Versace Prima Linea now accounts for 60 percent of sales. Revenue from fragrance, a classic customer acquisition tool for luxury brands, was also up 23.6 percent.

Asia also saw an uptick in sales, up 18.5 percent, while Europe grew 8.1 percent.

As for capital expenditure in 2013, Versace has been pouring money (something to the tune of €24.0 million) into retail expansion and its e-commerce business.

Given the timing of the Blackstone deal, most of this growth isn't attributable to the investment. Still, it's a good sign for what Versace might be capable of when that €210 million infusion of cash really does come into play.