“I’m in love with this company and it’s not for sale,” Ferragamo said Saturday at the brand’s autumn-winter fashion show in Milan. “There’s a lot of energy in the brand. We have a lot of programs coming to turn that energy into good news in the coming weeks and months.”
The company on Friday promoted womenswear designer Paul Andrew to oversee the whole brand as creative director, a step Chief Executive Officer Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi called a “natural evolution.”
She plans to boost the visibility of the ready-to-wear clothing collections in stores to create a more immersive experience for customers.
Ferragamo’s silk scarves and Vara pumps have long been staples for corporate women and the country-club set, but the brand has struggled to gain visibility online and win over younger luxury shoppers. It has mostly missed the latest wave of Chinese demand, which has boosted rivals like Gucci and LVMH’s Louis Vuitton since 2016.
The shares have fallen 43 percent since their peak in 2015, but they spiked in October amid speculation that the founding family would be more open to a takeover following the death of matriarch Wanda Ferragamo at the age of 96.
“We have a very loyal customer base that I can’t ignore,” Andrew said backstage after the show. “I have to keep them engaged while we try to bring in a new generation.”
Sales fell 1.8 percent at constant exchange rates last year as wholesale performance declined, but Ferragamo’s Chinese retail sales jumped 7.6 percent in the final quarter in a potential early sign of a turnaround. The company reports second-half results March 12.
By Robert Williams; editor: Matthew G. Miller, John J. Edwards III, James Cone