By Lenore Fedow
Boucheron Meisa the Chickadee Ring set with a tanzanite, diamonds, multi-color sapphires, tsavorites, onyx and lapis lazuli in 18-karat white gold (price available upon request). The Kering-owned brand’s sales suffered due to declining tourism in Western Europe and Japan.
Paris—Kering posted hopeful third-quarter results Thursday, pointing to a recovery ahead, but the luxury conglomerate is not out of the woods yet.

The company behind Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other high-end brands saw a decline in overall revenue, even as online sales doubled.

Third-quarter revenue totaled €3.72 billion ($4.4 billion), a 4 percent decline compared with €3.88 billion ($4.59 billion) a year ago.

In the first nine months of the year, revenue fell 21 percent on a comparable basis to €9.09 billion ($10.75 billion).

“In a tough environment, Kering achieved substantial revenue recovery in the third quarter. The creativity of each of our Houses and the agility of our organization led to a sharp rebound in sales, nearly matching the level of the 2019 third quarter,” said CEO François-Henri Pinault in a press release announcing the results.

The company’s watch and jewelry brands, including Pomellato and Boucheron, fall into its “other houses” division, alongside Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga.

Quarterly revenue in the “others” division totaled €669.1 million ($791.5 billion), a 9 percent increase on a comparable basis.

Retail sales in this division were up 10 percent year-over-year while wholesale climbed 17 percent.

Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga were the standouts in this category, both seeing double-digit growth in retail and wholesale after expanding their directly-operated store network in Asia Pacific and North America and seeing a boost in online sales.

As for the jewelry houses, Boucheron and Pomellato “had a more contracted quarter,” said CFO Jean-Marc Duplaix during an earnings call Thursday.

Duplaix blamed suffering tourism in Western Europe and Japan.

Sales in Western Europe were down 41 percent and down 23 percent in Japan.

Boucheron saw bright spots in Asia Pacific, however, said Kering, highlighting its growth in Korea and Taiwan and its store opening in Beijing.

And, “Qeelin is taking advantage of the strength of mainland China to post outstanding growth,” said Duplaix.

Momentum in mainland China contributed to 19 percent growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Kering recently announced the opening of its new headquarters in Japan, located in Omotesando, Tokyo and designed by Pritzker Award winner and Japanese architect Toyo Ito.

The watch brands didn’t fare as well and are focusing on prime distribution, said Kering.

Kering’s luxury houses posted strong growth in North America, up 44 percent due to a rebound in local demand.

Online sales were a bright spot for the luxury conglomerate, climbing 102 percent overall in the third quarter. North American e-commerce sales were up 179 percent in the third quarter.

For the first nine months of the year, e-commerce accounted for 13 percent of overall retail sales compared with 6 percent a year ago. 

In North America, that percentage grew to 24 percent, double the 12 percent reported a year ago.

The loss of travel retail also took its toll as quarterly wholesale revenue in its luxury houses fell 5 percent year-over-year.

The luxury titan had 1,430 directly-operated stores as of September compared with 1,393 stores in June.

Kering did not provide financial guidance for the year ahead.

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