With a traveling museum exhibit, “The Art of Shoes,” and a documentary film release, it may have seemed like Manolo Blahnik was everywhere in 2017 — but that kind of publicity doesn’t come cheap.
Manolo Blahnik International released its 2017 financial report this week and in it revealed that despite healthy sales, its operating profits fell 28 percent to 8.1 million euros (or approximately $9.3 million). Much of this dip, it said, was the result of promotional efforts for the exhibit, a retrospective of the designer’s 45-year career that has touched down in Madrid, Prague, Milan and St. Petersburg, Russia, and is now on view at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. The film, called “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,” was released in both the U.S. and U.K., further adding to the annual marketing expenditure (today, fans can watch it at home on Netflix).
The company also said that it expanded its senior leadership team throughout the year, increasing the average number of employees by 30 percent over 2016. Like most brands, it also saw an increase in online sales, which tend to be costlier than in-store transactions.
Total sales rose 2 percent to 34.8 million euros (about $40.1 million), and the company was optimistic about future growth in the report, saying that its “financial resources have improved considerably in recent years,” thanks to “maintaining its long-term supplier relationships, its contracts with distributors and retaining a loyal customer base.” The company opened three standalone stores in 2017 and has added another two to its portfolio in 2018, including its first dedicated men’s boutique.