Oct 5, 2021
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Manolo Blahnik expects surging growth this year as sales bounce back

Oct 5, 2021

Footwear may have struggled in the pandemic — and dressy, luxury footwear more than most — but Manolo Blahnik is rebounding from the downturn and sales in recent months have even beaten those of 2019.

Manolo Blahnik

The company has filed its 2020 accounts with Companies House but has also updated on its 2021 performance and the contrast between the two years couldn’t be clearer.

First, those 2020 figures. Blahnik Group said turnover was down 7%year-on-year to £42.3 million, but like-for-like sales plunged 28%. Profit on an EBITDA basis dropped 92% to £0.51 million and the loss before tax widened by 6% to £4.75 million. The net loss for the year was £6.6 million, worse than the £3.8 million of the previous 12 months. While the company saw lower sales, its operating expenses increased due to the integration of its American operation into the business on January 1.

In the accounts filed for its Manolo Blahnik International unit, it also said that sales were "dramatically impacted" by the pandemic with both wholesale and retail affected by store closures and local lockdowns in various territories. But e-commerce performed "exceptionally well”.

Clearly, e-tail aside, it wasn't a good year. And 2021? The Evening Standard reported on Tuesday that sales for the first eight months of this year not only rose 81% compared to 2020 (presumably skewed by that American unit’s integration), but most importantly were 8% ahead of where they were two years ago.

This was helped in part by ongoing strong demand online, as well as its 21 standalone stores reopening and it means the company is forecasting triple-digit growth this year.

The figures put Manolo Blahnik in that group of luxury names that are bouncing back relatively quickly, underlining how much pent-up demand there was among affluent consumers and how the return of social occasions is boosting consumer interest in dressy footwear.

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