Kering’s Saint Laurent compensates for declining sales at Gucci and Bottega Veneta

Kering SA reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat estimates as buoyant demand for Saint Laurent clothing helped compensate for declining sales of Gucci handbags and slowing growth at Bottega Veneta.

Sales climbed 4.9 percent on a comparable basis, Paris- based Kering said Tuesday. Analysts predicted 3.6 percent growth, according to the median of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Full-year recurring operating income fell 5 percent to 1.66 billion euros ($1.9 billion), compared with the 1.7 billion-euro median estimate.

Kering is grappling with sluggish demand for Gucci  and a turnaround at sportswear-maker Puma SE that is taking longer than anticipated. Having installed new management at Puma in 2013, Kering last month replaced Gucci’s chief executive officer and creative head after more than a year of almost no growth at its biggest brand.

Organic growth is Kering’s “number one priority in 2015 in a macroeconomic and currency environment which remains unsettled,” Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault said in the statement. “I am confident in the group’s ability to achieve sustainable, profitable growth while focusing in the short-term on our brands’ cash flow generation.”

Saint Laurent quarterly sales advanced 25 percent on a comparable basis, exceeding the median estimate of 17 percent growth. Gucci sales fell 0.5 percent, less than the 1 percent predicted. Sales at leather goods maker Bottega Veneta rose 6.8 percent, trailing estimates.

Puma, which added singer Rihanna to a sponsorship roster that also includes sprinter Usain Bolt, yesterday reported a 3.3 percent increase in full-year currency adjusted sales and forecast a “medium single-digit” percentage increase in 2015.

Saint Laurent Spring Summer 2015