The products will still be on the shelves, but Fools who want to own a piece of the business will have to stifle their tears, as Gucci Group
The full-year numbers show a small sales increase of 1.7%, but a 22% drop in earnings per share. Most of the decline was owed to reduced financing income; increased costs of sales; increased selling, general, and administrative expenses; and restructuring charges. But the fourth-quarter numbers showed a slight pickup in performance, with a 3.8% uptick in revenues and a 3.2% increase in diluted earnings per share, to 0.96 euros.
The most interesting tidbit to take away from the report is the increase in spending that the group's luxury goods are scoring outside Europe. In the fourth quarter, U.S. consumers wanted 25% more Gucci products, while the Chinese and Korean appetite went up around 30%. Yves Saint Laurent products were doubled in popularity in Asia, and in the U.S., shoppers bought 45% more.
The group isn't the only purveyor of pricey goods to be benefiting from U.S. consumer confidence. (Or is that consumer overconfidence?) Recent numbers from the likes of Coach
Back in November, Gucci's turnaround pilots, design leader Tom Ford and CEO Domenic del Sole, announced their departure effective next month, just ahead of the planned takeover by French retailer Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). Sole's parting comments about "resisting a creeping takeover" leave little doubt that he thinks the buyout will shortchange shareholders. Given that 11 years ago, Gucci was selling $200 million a year and closed 2003 with revenues near $3 billion, it would be hard to argue that his leadership hasn't been worthwhile.
Get your fashion fix on in the Fool's What to Wear board.