January 30, 2020 / 6:58 PM / a month ago

Tod's beats expectations as sales pick up in fourth quarter

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian luxury shoemaker Tod's is seen at the company's store in Zurich, Switzerland April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Luxury goods group Tod’s (TOD.MI) beat analysts’ expectations for 2019 revenues on Thursday after sales picked up in the fourth quarter, and said its strategy to lure more younger consumers was starting to show results.

The Italian group, famous for its Gommino loafers, said its total sales for 2019 fell by 2.6% to 916 million euros (773 million pounds) at current exchange rates. That marked a fourth straight annual decline, but was above an average analyst estimate of 909 million euros in a Refinitiv poll.

“The results of the last quarter showed an improvement in the revenue trend, despite the negative effects regarding the Hong Kong market. We are starting to register the first positive signs of our strategy,” Tod’s founder and top shareholder Diego Della Valle said in a statement.

The shoes and leather goods company launched a new strategy in late 2017 focussed on more frequent collections and collaborations backed by significant marketing investments in order to appeal to a younger customer base.

The 4% decrease in the closely watched indicator of same-store sales also signalled a small improvement compared with the 4.7% decline posted in the first nine months of the year.

The group’s sales in Greater China grew by 2.3% in 2019 despite “the sharp slowdown” in the Hong Kong market where tourism has been hit by political protests.

Tod’s also signalled a slight shift in its sales strategy, saying it would put less importance on the wholesale network and focus on its own shops and e-commerce partnerships.

“Although this strategy will temporarily reduce the turnover, we believe it is the right thing to do, in order to be able to completely control the distribution policy of our group, worldwide”, Della Valle said.

Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; Editing by Susan Fenton

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