When Hedi Slimane showed his first ready-to-wear collection for Saint Laurent in October 2012, the response from the industry was mixed. But the response from customers has been favorably strong from the beginning — and momentum is only picking up.
In the first three months of 2015, sales of Saint Laurent were up 21 percent year-over-year on a comparable basis, according to parent company Kering's first quarter earnings report, released Tuesday. Sales were especially strong in North America (up 39 percent), but Western Europe (up 29 percent) and Japan (up 22 percent) showed impressive growth as well.
Kering's total revenue was up 11 percent to €2.7 billion (about $2.9 billion) in the first quarter, largely thanks to favorable currency changes and the sale of Movitex in January. Excluding those events, revenue was down 0.6 percent for the quarter.
Kering's prize pony, Gucci, had an understandably tough quarter following the tumultuous changeover of its CEO and creative director at the beginning of the year. Though strong in Europe, sales were down 8 percent on a comparable basis, and performance was particularly poor in the Asia-Pacific region. We won't get a sense of how new CEO Marco Bizzarri and Creative Director Alessandro Michele are doing until the third quarter, when Michele's first ready-to-wear collection for Gucci hits stores.
Bottega Veneta got its year off to a steady start with comparable sales up 3 percent. Kering said that Balenciaga had a "solid" quarter, while Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen saw "vigorous growth."