* Q2 comparable revenues up 95%, up 11% vs Q2 2019
* Gucci sales up 86%, accelerating from Q1
PARIS, July 27 (Reuters) - Sales at French luxury group
Kering nearly doubled in the second quarter as coronavirus curbs
were relaxed in much of the world, with its star fashion label
Gucci accelerating sharply and hoping to capitalise further on
its centenary year.
The luxury goods industry has rebounded strongly since the
beginning of the year, fuelled by robust demand in Asia and the
United States, with Kering rivals like Louis Vuitton owner LVMH
Kering said on Tuesday overall comparable revenues leapt 95%
in the three months to the end of June on a year earlier, and
were 11% higher than their pre-pandemic, 2019 levels. Total
revenues reached 4.16 billion euros ($4.92 billion).
At its Gucci brand, which accounts for more than half of
group revenues and 76% of operating profit, sales leapt 86%
year-on-year, picking up pace from the previous quarter.
After cutting marketing spending and fashion shows in 2020,
Gucci is catching up on its 100th anniversary, keeping the buzz
around the brand high with events and new collections, including
one presented in April where Gucci designs were crossed with
silhouettes and logos by Balenciaga, another Kering brand.
That collection is likely to hit stores at the end of the
third quarter, while the launch of a Gucci-based Ridley Scott
film "House of Gucci", with Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al
Pacino, is expected to give additional visibility to the brand
around the key holiday season later this year.
The rebound has extended beyond blockbuster brands at the
luxury conglomerates to lower-tier labels.
LVMH on Monday flagged record profitability and revenue at
Fendi, Loewe and Celine, while Kering said that Yves Saint
Laurent had reached critical scale with sales bouncing back in
all regions and Bottega Veneta revenues hit a record level in
the second quarter.
Kering finance chief Jean-Marc Duplaix said the group would
continue to invest to support its brands in the second half of
the year, at a time when cash-rich luxury goods conglomerates
are ploughing funds into marketing and events.
Duplaix said this would not come at the expense of
profitability, with margins expected to increase in the second
"Demand for our brands remains strong," he said.
Kering's free cash flow from operations more than tripled in
the first half to a record 2.4 billion euros, giving the group a
sizeable cash pile for possible acquisitions.
With recurring market rumours that Kering could be eyeing a
tie-up with Swiss rival Richemont among others, Managing
Director Jean-Francois Palus said the company was looking for
possible M&A deals.
He added the recent purchase of Danish eyewear label
Lindberg did not preclude a bigger acquisition, although he
noted there was a scarcity of luxury targets.
"We are watching the market, working to find the best target
at very good conditions, that's what we've been doing in past
years and what we will do in the future."
Duplaix added Kering was not in the process of selling its
watch division after media reports it might look to part ways
with labels Girard Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin.
($1 = 0.8454 euros)
(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Mimosa Spencer
Editing by Sarah White and Mark Potter)