Prada to Focus on Cost Control After Quarterly Profit Gains 14 Percent

Wool and fur at Prada A/W 2013 | Photo: Sonny Vandevelde

MILAN, Italy — Prada SpA, an Italian maker of $3,500 pony-skin totes, said it will focus on cost control as it opens more stores after first-quarter profit rose 14 percent in “uncertain” market conditions.

Net income rose to 138.2 million euros ($183.5 million) in the three months through April, Milan-based Prada said today in a statement. Analysts expected profit of 141 million euros, according to the median of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue climbed 14 percent to 782.3 million euros, missing the average estimate of 790.3 million euros.

Prada has said it plans to open as many as 80 stores this year as it seeks to sell more $310 sunglasses and $750 wedges particularly in Asia. The company, which aims to grow without making acquisitions, is confident of a high single-digit percentage increase in like-for-like sales, Chief Executive Officer Patrizio Bertelli said last month. Prada today attributed market conditions to “enduring macroeconomic volatility.”

“Prada is a clear investment opportunity,” said Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, in a note last week. He has an outperform rating on the shares.

The earnings were released after the close of trading in Hong Kong, where Prada’s stock is listed. The shares fell 1.4 percent to HK$73.25 today, giving the owner of brands including Church’s and Car Shoe a market value of HK$187.4 billion ($24 billion).

By: Andrew Roberts; Editors: Thomas Mulier, Paul Jarvis