Manolo Blahnik is on a roll. The luxury footwear and accessories label has just announced its 2022 results and its sales topped €100 million for the first time ever.
That came as turnover rose a massive 69% to €118.2 million and pre-tax profit more than tripled from €4.6 million to €23.7 million.
This “best-ever” financial performance happened as “all channels experienced a strong rebound in consumer demand with store footfall returning to pre-pandemic levels and e-commerce sales continuing to grow, up 24% year on year”.
Admittedly it was a year in which the company bounced back from the pandemic period and the kind of growth percentages it saw aren’t likely to be repeated. But there was plenty to suggest its elevated figures aren’t set to go into reverse any time soon.
During the period, the company benefited from a full year of sales in its two US boutiques — its flagship on Madison Avenue in New York City and a second boutique in East Hampton — “demonstrating the resonance of the Manolo Blahnik brand with US consumers”.
That’s particularly encouraging as well because a number of luxury brands reported early signs of a slowdown in US sales last year.
The company said key highlights over the period also included a worldwide collaboration with Birkenstock “which sold out within hours of its launch, bringing huge brand awareness and new customers to the brand”. The collaboration featured two drops in March and again in June “delivering unprecedented levels of engagement across social channels”.
And it’s clear that if the label ever collaborated with Birkenstock again, there would probably be huge demand. The original products are still selling at a premium to their original luxury prices on resale sites such as StockX.
The growth in the womenswear category was fuelled by increased interest in occasionwear and embellished designs post-pandemic, with the Hangisi shoe driving sales.
But the company also said that “towards the end of 2022, we saw more demand for simple, investment pieces. The elegant and classic mule Maysale, designed in the late 90s, helped to drive this growth due to its versatility and timeless quality”.
Importantly for a brand best-known for its women’s pieces, the menswear category continued to grow, and a “highly successful” brand awareness campaign went live in Q4 across all brand channels with a focus on UK and US markets.
For first time in its history, the company also shared an exceptional bonus of over €1 million with its employees in November.
Meanwhile, this year, as Manolo Blahnik has continued to position itself for growth and “strengthening the commercial drive of the brand”, the group named Elodie Bougenault to the position of global Chief Commercial Officer in June.
She’s tasked with leading its “ambitious” expansion plans, with a particular focus on Asia, which is her specific area of expertise. That comes after the brand won a long battle for its IP in the Supreme People’s Court of China in June 2022.
Her arrival means former CCO and current President of Americas Andrew Wright will be able to “fully focus on delivering the significant long-term growth plans for the Americas”.
CEO Kristina Blahnik — upbeat but also adding a note of caution — said of all this: “We saw another record financial performance in 2022 with sales across all our channels rebounding very strongly and firmly establishing our position in the US market. 2022 was an extraordinary year of consumer demand which will naturally rebalance in 2023 given multiple macro-economic headwinds.”
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