British luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur is having a profitable year, even as the growth of the luxury market seems to be slowing.
Since January, the brand has seen same-store sales growth of 17 percent. Growth in the fiscal year to March could be as high as 30 percent to 70 million pounds ($113 million), a pattern “roughly in line with trends seen in previous years,” according to The Daily Mail. Net profit for this year is also expected to rise to 10 million pounds from 6 million during the last fiscal year.
Unlike many other luxury brands, Agent Provocateur is doing well in China, Hong Kong, and Russia. The brand has just released a second line co-designed by actress Penelope Cruz and her sister Monica, and is scheduled to open 20 boutiques a year for the next three years.
It currently has three shops in mainland China – in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. According to Agent Provocateur’s CEO Garry Hogarth, the company plans to open 10 stores in the Mainland over the next several years.
It has been a year of slow growth for the overall luxury goods market. In 2012, the rate of growth was 10 percent; in 2013, 8 percent; and this year, growth has slowed to just 5-6 percent. Fewer tourists purchasing luxury goods on trips to Europe and a general decline in demand in China and Russia are key contributing factors.
Nevertheless, Hogarth remains undaunted. “So far, our businesses have not been affected by events worldwide,” Hogarth said in an interview.
Agent Provocateur’s competitors include the luxury lingerie providers Chantal Thomass, La Perla, and Lise Charmel. The brand is also on the market, having recently been put up for sale by its private equity controlling shareholder, 3i. A formal auction is expected to begin in April, and the company hopes the brand will get a valuation of at least 200 million pounds.
image credit: agentprovocateur.com