Michael Kors Asia outperforms US
Michael Kors Asia sales are showing healthy growth – at the same time as same-store figures are falling heavily in its US home market.
Michael Kors has kicked off its new financial year with a weak set of numbers this week.
Total revenue was virtually flat, just 0.2 per cent higher than during the same period last year., and driven by the opening of new stores which helped push overall retail sales up by 7.6 per cent. That offset a dismal comparable sales decline of 7.4 per cent.
Michael Kors Asia has been a growth spot, with revenues rising by 74.5 per cent – although this is flattered by the acquisition of the company’s Greater China licensee.
However, even on an underlying basis, the region is in positive territory, again thanks to the more favorable brand perception from consumers.
In the US, one of the key issues is that interest in the brand appears to have peaked. This is evident from Conlumino’s brand tracking, which shows that while Michael Kors is not viewed unfavorably by consumers, it is not enjoying the resurgence that Coach has managed to engineer. This domestic woe is evident in the North American numbers which tumbled by 5 per cent, a sequentially worse performance than the previous quarter.
The worsening of North American results is partly attributable to the stronger dollar which has likely weakened tourist sales at key flagships in the US, and Michael Kors is affected more than Coach in this respect, as it relies more on tourist spend at its larger stores. Nevertheless, given the investment being put into the new digital flagships – such as the one at 520 Broadway in New York – such an outcome is disappointing.
The numbers from Europe were somewhat better with a 3.3 per cent increase in revenue over last year. Here, the MK brand is less ubiquitous and the company’s new stores, such as the one recently opened on London’s Regent St, are generating good trade in a way that the stores in North America are failing to do. Given that the company has several further European digital flagship stores in the pipeline for this fall, it looks likely that Europe will continue to deliver respectable sales growth across this fiscal year.
In the continuation of a theme we have seen across many luxury brands, wholesale revenue has decreased – falling by 7 per cent. Some of this is down to the company’s own actions to reduce exposure to channels that do not reflect its brand image, and some is down to the generally weaker traffic to malls across North America which has affected a number of outlets and stores that sell Michael Kors product.
Looking ahead, while international sales will grow this year, the increase will be offset by continued pressures in North America. As such, revenues will likely be flat which will create pressure on the bottom line given all of the investments the brand is making.
- Neil Saunders is CEO of Conlumino.