Chanel is legendarily tight-lipped about its finances, but on Thursday, for the first time in its 108-year history, the brand released an annual report to let the public in on some of its long-kept secrets.
Most notable, perhaps, is that it is fast approaching the $10 billion mark in annual sales, generating revenues of $9.62 billion in 2017, an 11 percent increase from the previous year. This puts it in the same playing field as Louis Vuitton, which is estimated to bring in more than 8 billion euros ($9.2 billion) a year, though parent company LVMH doesn’t break out sales for individual brands.
Hot on their heels is Gucci, whose CEO recently announced a target of 10 billion euros ($12 billion) in annual sales, up from 6.2 billion euros ($7.2 billion) last year.
The unusual show of transparency by the French fashion house is a display of strength; CFO Philippe Blondiaux told news outlets that he hopes the disclosure will put to rest any rumors of a sale — at least during any of our lifetimes. Asked if the report might indicate an IPO on the horizon, Blondiaux told Reuters: “It’s exactly the opposite — this financial statement shows that we are amazingly solid financially and we can keep our status as a private, independent company for the next few centuries.”
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Chanel’s growth is particularly notable in the Asia-Pacific region, where revenues grew 16.5 percent over the prior year. Overall profit rose 18.5 percent to $1.79 billion.
As for how much Karl Lagerfeld’s notoriously extravagant Grand Palais fashion shows cost, the line tallying its “brand support activities” (including marketing, advertising, and events) gives a hint: Chanel spent $1.46 billion in 2017, up 15 percent from a year before.