Over the past several quarters, sales at Gucci, Kering's largest luxury brand, have slumped. Most recently, in the first quarter of 2015 — following the turbulent dismissal of the brand's creative director and CEO — comparable sales were down 8 percent. But things are starting to look up.
At the beginning of the year, Kering exec Marco Bizzarri became CEO of Gucci, and in April, Kering promoted Gucci's head accessories designer, Alessandro Michele, to the role of creative director, charging him with leading brand's aesthetic transition. While Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault promised Gucci would see a sales turnaround in the second half of this year — around the time Michele's first designs hit stores — sales are already on the rise.
Marking the first time Gucci has seen growth in almost two years, sales there were up 4.6 percent on a comparable basis in the second quarter. The company said that Chinese tourists in Japan and Western Europe, as well as increased discounting in China of pre-Michele merchandise, contributed to that growth.
In a presentation to investors Monday, Kering laid out its goals for Gucci, which include building "a more focused and relevant offer for the customers" by introducing new products while discontinuing others, reducing the overall number of products, and improving the visual merchandising and retail experience.
Michele has already presented three collections — two women's and one men's — and released two ad campaigns that clearly communicate Gucci's new aesthetic. That aesthetic, along with his designs, have been received positively by press (including us), and their real impact will be felt in the third quarter, after his fall 2015 wares have spent some time on the sales floor.
Elsewhere at Kering, Saint Laurent continued to be the luxury conglomerate's star performer. Sales there were up 24.3 percent in the first half of the year on a comparable basis.