Furla up +18% as TR sales rocket, China beckons

By Kevin Rozario |

Expansion in Asia, development in travel retail and rising e-commerce sales have been instrumental in delivering +18% growth in turnover for Italian fashion house Furla, which is now set for a major push in China.


The Bologna-based leather goods specialist produced sales of €212m ($290m) last year, up +18% on 2011 which had also been a strong year for the brand. Furla sales over the two years have risen by +35%.


Travel retail trumped that with a +93% increase in turnover last year alone, and Furla’s unisex Business Travel collection is now present in 35 countries via 120 stores in airports worldwide.


Profitability at the company has also been increasing: profit margin was up by +28% while EBITDA of €32 million, rose by +15%.


Overseas business now account for 76% of total sales, “proof that the core of the business is increasingly shifting towards international markets” the company says – and expansion in Asia Pacific markets has been decisive.



Japan is the company’s biggest market – bigger even that Italy, with a 27% share of sales last year. However that could change now that Furla has tied up with Fung Group through Fung Capital Asia, the private strategic investment arm of the families of Victor and William Fung, to tap Chinese demand.


The joint venture deal involves the opening of more than 100 boutiques over the next four years in more than 40 cities in Greater China, and follows the launch of its first concept store in Hong Kong in August 2012, having negotiated the early takeover of distribution rights from previous local partners.


From today, Furla will manage distribution in Hong Kong, Macau, and China through its joint venture with the Fung Group, in which Furla holds a majority equity stake.


Giovanna Furlanetto (left), President of Furla, says: “In Fung Group, we have found a partner whose pedigree is similar to ours. We are both family-owned companies with a proud heritage – 106 years for the Fung Group and 86 years for Furla – with similar values.”


Elsewhere in Asia Pacific, Furla has already stepped up penetration. It has tied up with Central Marketing Group (CMG), the distribution division of Thai multinational Central Group to open the first Furla flagship store in Bangkok and it has also inaugurated its first mono-brand store in Mumbai, India. Meanwhile e-commerce has seen a +158% increase in sales helped by the brand’s wider international presence.


Furla, still owned by the Furlanetto family, is now present in 71 countries with five subsidiaries in France, Hong Kong, Japan and the US. Some 80% of distribution is retail (320 mono-brand stores: 156 Furla boutiques and 164 authorised retailers), and 20% wholesale (1,290 multi-brand and department stores).



Thanks to its strong numbers, Furla is distributing a bonus of €1.5m to its 925 employees worldwide, 95% of whom are women. The company says it is “firmly established as a woman’s company”, not only because its products are expressly designed for and target women, but also because of its investment in them at a professional level.


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