Prada’s 2015 Profits Hit By Asia Performance

A slowdown in demand in Asia hurt Prada SpA’s bottom line in its 2015 fiscal year.

The Italian luxury group reported a 26.6 percent drop in profits in the 12 months ended Jan. 31 to 330.9 million euros, or $364 million, compared with 450.7 million euros, or $590.4 million, in the same period in the previous year.

In the 12 months ended Jan. 31, sales totaled 3.54 billion euros, or $3.91 billion, compared with 3.55 billion euros, or $4.67 billion, in the previous fiscal year, as reported in February.

Prada released the figures today. A conference call to discuss the results is scheduled for Monday.

The company’s sales results were bolstered by the performance of its own stores. At the time the sales figures were released in February, Patrizio Bertelli, Prada’s chief executive officer, said, “Throughout 2015, we had to deal with an economic environment characterized by extreme volatility in currency markets, as well as by the deteriorating geopolitical situation in many world regions. These two factors have made prices fluctuate widely and diverted tourist traffic in sudden and unpredictable ways. Our retail network — now truly global, thanks to investment in recent years — enables us to keep developing a direct relationship with our ever-more demanding customer all over the world.

“In the coming months, the Prada Group will be focusing its energies on the development of new commercial and marketing initiatives to sustain organic growth, also by means of an extensive digital project to strengthen dialogue with our customers.”

Last December, talking about the nine-months results, Bertelli said during a call with analysts that the company was focusing on technology and social media, from Instagram to Twitter, to engage customers. He added that, from mid-January, Wi-Fi service would be available in its network of Prada and Miu Miu stores to make products more accessible to customers.

Chief financial officer Donatello Galli said during the call that Prada’s planned interactivity with customers will also allow the company to acquire “deeper insight” on their behavior. He noted it is increasingly challenging to serve the customer but sees this as “an opportunity.”

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