Italian fashion group Prada reported a strong recovery in operating profits in the second half of 2020 thanks to soaring Asian sales and an e-commerce push combined with strict controls over costs and investments.
The positive sales trend also continued into the first months of 2021, the Milanese luxury brand said on Wednesday.
Full-year revenues fell by 24 percent to €2.42 billion ($2.9 billion) thanks to an improvement in the second half after a 40 percent slump in the first six months.
Lockdown measures to stem the spread of coronavirus led to around 18 percent of the group’s store network being closed on average during the year and also hit tourism.
Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli said Prada responded quickly to market changes, strengthening the relationship with local customers whose consumption in the second half of the year almost fully offset the absence of tourists.
“All of these initiatives led to a full recovery in the second half to pre-pandemic profitability levels,” he said in a statement.
The recovery in retail sales, which account for around 90 percent of Prada’s total, was driven in the second half by mainland China (+52 percent), Taiwan (+61 percent), Korea (+22 percent) and also by the Americas (+4 percent). Japan and Europe suffered from the lack of tourists and prolonged lockdowns.
The pandemic has pushed the whole luxury industry towards digital sales. Prada’s e-commerce more than tripled versus 2019 levels, the Hong Kong listed company said.
“These results give us confidence to face the upcoming rebound, as soon as the most critical phase of the pandemic will end.”, Bertelli said.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) totalled €20 million in the full-year, following a €216 million EBIT in the second half, broadly in line with the same period of 2019, after a €196 million operating loss in the first six months.
Analysts had expected revenues at €2.44 billion and an EBIT of €13.8 million, based on a Refinitiv analyst consensus.
Analysts did not expected any dividends, but Prada’s board decided on a €0.035 per share payment after skipping any dividend payout last year.
By Claudia Cristoferi; Editor: Jane Merriman