Polet’s Debut for Gucci: CEO Lauds ‘Mini-Boom’ As Profits Climb 33%

PPR’s net income shot up 61.5 percent to 191.1 million euros, boosted by luxury goods, but was well shy of expectations of about 360 million euros.

Meanwhile, Polet showed a merchant’s sensibility when he lauded Gucci’s new store in Taipei as its most beautiful yet, asking members of the audience to stop by if they were in the neighborhood, “and please buy something.”

Gucci is scheduled to open stores in Berlin, Shanghai, Guam and Osaka in coming months, Polet said. Bottega Veneta also has stores slated to bow in Seoul, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur. Bottega’s new Fifth Avenue flagship will be feted with an event on Sept. 14.

Sharing some impressions of his whirlwind tour of the luxury giant, Polet recounted finding a Gucci ad from 1952 from Aldo Gucci’s days that illustrated that “already they were marketers and brand builders.” The caption from the campaign? “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”

He also said he was touched to meet a 47-year veteran of the company, who explained he continues to make shoes at Gucci’s Florence factory beyond his retirement years because “I love what I do. This is my life.”

But Polet acknowledged he still has much to learn. Gesturing toward his head, he quipped: “On all my hard disks, there are still a few blank spaces.”

Weinberg said Gucci would synchronize its financial calendar with PPR’s by the end of the year.

Weinberg did not detail why PPR missed consensus expectations of profits so significantly, but PPR indicated it resulted partially from a write-down of certain luxury goods assets totaling 147.7 million euros, or $181.4 million. He reported that retail was gaining ground in PPR’s key French market, which has suffered recently from weak consumer spending. He said first-half operating profit at the retail division gained 4.7 percent to 291.8 million euros, or $358.3 million, and that profits will continue to gain in the second half.

At Redcats, PPR’s catalogue division, Weinberg outlined plans to step up operations in the U.S., where a new managerial team has been in place since January. He said new catalogues and back-office improvements were in the works.
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