The former Unilever frozen-foods honcho on Thursday delivered an upbeat assessment of his new job as Gucci Group’s chief executive, praising its brands, business fundamentals and entrepreneurial spirit, but stopping short of providing a strategic plan. He isn’t expected to table that until December.
“I’ve been around the world in 60 days,” said a relaxed and charismatic Polet at a gathering here to disclose Gucci parent Pinault-Printemps-Redoute’s first-half results. PPR’s net income shot up 61.5 percent to 191.1 million euros, or $234.7 million, boosted by luxury and the sale of noncore assets, but was well shy of consensus expectations of about 360 million euros, or $442 million. Dollar figures are at average exchange rates.
Earnings before interest and taxes of 569.2 million euros, or $698.9 million, down 2 percent, also fell short of market expectations. Shares in PPR fell 6 percent Thursday to close at 70.50 euros, or $85.70, in trading on the Paris Bourse.
As reported, PPR, whose far-flung interests span department stores to catalogues, saw first-half sales decline 7.4 percent to 11.37 billion euros, or $13.96 billion.
Gucci Group’s pro forma EBIT gained 33 percent to 150.4 million euros, or $184.7 million, in the half. Sales rose 4.4 percent to 1.34 billion euros, or $1.65 billion, from 1.28 billion euros, or $1.42 billion, in the corresponding period of 2003.
The Gucci brand saw EBIT gain 6.1 percent in the first half to 231.5 million euros, or $284.2 million. Losses narrowed to 35 million euros, or $42.9 million, at Gucci’s so-called “other” brands, including Balenciaga, Boucheron, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
Losses also dropped at Bottega Veneta, to 6.6 million euros, or $8.1 million, from 10.1 million euros, or $11.2 million.
PPR chief executive Serge Weinberg said losses at YSL had widened to 39 million euros, or $47.9 million, from 35 million euros, or $38.7 million, with 7 million euros, or $8.6 million, attributable to new store openings.