Balenciaga results: The truth about the Kering group's cherished brand
Head in the stars... feet in the mud. If Gucci is Kering's gem, then Balenciaga, which showed on Sunday at Paris Fashion Week, is a diamond. But for several years, during the financial results presentation, the performance of Balenciaga has been questioned. In their annual presentation, the group led by François-Henri Pinault, always boasts about the house's success without ever going into detail.
The luxury giant, mainly owned by the Pinault Family, acheived a total of 17.645 billion euros in sales in 2021. These sales include those of its Italian flagship representing 9.731 billion euros, Saint Laurent with 2.521 billion euros and Bottega Veneta with 1.5 billion euros. However it also combines the figures of houses such as Alexander McQueen or Brioni in another division called "Other houses”. The latter achieved a turnover of 3.265 billion euros, up 43% compared to 2021, but the breakdown of this figure was not disclosed.
While the performance of the division is still impressive in 2022 with a reported growth of 32% in the first half of the year, FashionNetwork.com has obtained the details of Balenciaga’s 2021 financial results. The house of which Demna (Demna Gvasalia, in full) is creative director has passed the billion euro mark in sales by far. The label is in fact just behind Bottega Veneta and its 1.5 billion euros in sales.
A 44% annual growth
In 2021, Balenciaga S.A.S., based in Paris, achieved a turnover of 1.189 billion euros against 826 million in 2020 and 927 million in 2019. A nice dynamic, with 44% growth between 2020 and 2021 and a return to the 2019 level of operating income in 2021 with 326 million euros.
In terms of net income, 2021 is a record year for the company, with a net income of 222 million euros against 66 million euros a year earlier, enough to satisfy Cédric Charbit, the CEO of the company. The creative ideas, the reputation of its creative director and its always surprising shows are bearing fruit.
Diving into the details of sales reveals that Balenciaga achieved 55 million in sales in France last year, compared to 44 million a year earlier. The acceleration of its growth is being driven by international markets, where the brand is expanding its network of boutiques, while reducing its number of multi-brand retailers, as are Gucci and Saint Laurent.
The market analysis of product searches on the Internet conducted by the company Lyst shows that the Neo Classic bags in small format or pieces from the Hacker Project with Gucci such as the Crystal Jacket were particularly attractive: the brand has risen in power, especially in Asia.
According to the results filed, its Chinese subsidiary achieved more than 302 million euros in sales excluding taxes, and the Asia-Pacific structure invoiced nearly 54 million. The other subsidiaries in the region also appear dynamic, with nearly 19 million for Thailand, 11 million for Singapore, around 16 million for Australia and even nearly 8 million in Malaysia. In the Middle East, two joint ventures posted sales of 20 and 45 million euros respectively, excluding taxes. In Europe, its English subsidiary achieved sales of more than 89 million euros, the Dutch subsidiary 16 million euros and the German subsidiary 11 million euros.
New premises in Paris and a growing international network
Although the stores could not be fully exploited due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the figures are positive and Balenciaga has organized itself in 2021 to accompany this rise in power. First of all, in the context of the pandemic, with confinements around the world, the brand has regained control of its e-commerce. For countries with a subsidiary, it manages the commercial part. The logistics part is managed by its subsidiary Balenciaga Online Italia, which also handles the commercial aspects for all countries not covered by a subsidiary of the company. Last year, the subsidiary posted sales of more than 22 million euros excluding taxes.
The company, which focuses its business model on direct activities, is strengthening its network. Last year it created subsidiaries in Denmark, the Czech Republic (managed by its Austrian structure) and Belgium in early 2022, as well as a joint venture in Qatar.
A new heavyweight in the luxury industry, the brand, whose offices were located at 40 rue de Sèvres, now has its own premises, made available by the group. Balenciaga has moved into a brand new 3,850 square meter building in Paris’s 7th arrondissement. A four-story building with a terrace overlooking the roofs of Paris at 16-18, rue Vaneau, not far from Matignon, the French Prime Minister's residence.
The company has also grown, with the number of employees in the main structure increasing from 518 to 601 in one year. Another strong sign is that production, which was previously handled by Kering Fashion Operations, based in Novara, is now managed by Balenciaga Logistica, based in Florence.
And in 2022?
Since the beginning of the year, Balenciaga’s forward momentum seems to be continuing. After relaunching its Haute Couture collection last year, the house set up a dedicated boutique at 10 Avenue George V this summer. The brand is maintaining its project to optimize its retailer network and continue its retail network. It recently opened locations in Sydney airport. The Kering Group company currently has about 50 direct sales outlets including boutiques and department stores in North America, about 60 in Europe and more than 160 in the Asia-Pacific region, one third of which are in Greater China.
This is already a substantial network, but one that can still be greatly optimized. Present in Mexico, Balenciaga does not currently have a direct presence in South America. In England, its activity is concentrated in London, and in Asia, many countries with potential, such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, do not yet have a Balenciaga boutique.
India, on the other hand, is already on the roadmap. An agreement with local retail giant Reliance, via its structure Reliance Brands Limited, was signed this summer for the brand to open in 2023. Whatever the terrain, the house seems destined to continue its march forward.
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