A bracelet from Gucci’s GG Running collection in 18-karat yellow gold with white diamond embellishments ($5,390).
Paris—Luxury powerhouse Kering reported strong full-year results, buoyed by growing demand from Chinese consumers and the success of its star brand, Gucci, which has a high jewelry category in the works.

Full-year revenue totaled €13.66 billion ($15.43 billion), a 26 percent increase compared with €10.81 billion ($12.21 billion) in 2017.

Comparable sales rose 25 percent to €3.8 billion ($4.29 billion) in the period from October to December, compared with €3.07 billion ($3.47 billion) a year ago.

“Our healthy, balanced and profitable growth reflects skillful execution of our strategy, rigorous financial discipline and a shared culture emphasizing responsibility and commitment. Having worked throughout the year to strengthen the group and its brands, we have the ambition and the means to sustain our profitable growth momentum,” said CEO François-Henri Pinault.

Kering’s high-profile brand portfolio includes Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, spanning across fashion, leather goods, watches and jewelry.

Its watch and jewelry brands include China-inspired Qeelin, Pomellato, Dodo and Swiss watch manufacturer Girard-Perregaux.

The company reported a second consecutive year of growth in its watch division and a “solid performance” from jewelry, citing retail as its main distribution channel.

Kering outlined its plans for Boucheron, its watch and jewelry brand dating back to 1858.

The company said an investment plan is underway “to reinforce the notoriety and presence of the brand” and noted its target openings in Asia.

The luxury goods company saw double-digit growth across all regions, including a 38 percent increase in North America, a 34 percent increase in Asia Pacific, a 24 percent increase in Japan, and a 24 percent increase in Western Europe.

Gucci was the year’s all-star as its double G logo found its way into closets worldwide, especially in Asia-Pacific and North America.

The brand’s revenue increased 37 percent on a comparable basis, surpassing the €8 billion ($9.2 billion) mark. Its online sales skyrocketed 70 percent in 2018.

Pinault said next June, the company plans to launch a new category of high jewelry of Gucci.

“This is another category, which above and beyond the extra growth, it will … even more importantly be further strengthening the very high-end positioning of the house of Gucci,” said Pinault during the company’s earnings call.

The collection will include 200 Italian-made pieces, many featuring colored gemstones, Pinault said in an interview with France’s Le Figaro in November.

Kering’s goal is to use ethically-sourced gold for its jewels in two years’ time, compared with its current 70 percent, said Pinault.

Gucci did not respond to a request for comment about the upcoming jewelry line.

As for its other brands, Saint Laurent revenue jumped 19 percent while the “other houses” revenue, which includes Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, rose 32 percent.

Bottega Veneta was the sole decliner, down 3 percent, but the company said the response to its 2019 pre-fall collection was “very encouraging”.

Kering is currently facing a hefty €1.4 billion ($1.58 billion) tax bill following accusations of tax evasion on earnings generated by Gucci in Italy but expects it to be settled soon.

For the year ahead, the company said it expects to see sustained growth and boost cash flow generation despite the complex economic environment that may impact consumer trends and tourism.

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