Moncler reported stronger-than-expected sales growth in the first three months of the year, despite a challenging base of comparison and the sector's uncertainties. Revenues for the quarter reached €237.3 million, representing an 18 percent rise compared with the previous year's first quarter, or a 17 percent rise at constant exchange rates. Sales were primarily boosted by good performance in China and Japan and strong wholesale revenues in the U.S. but the sales performance was positive in all regions.
International sales accounted for 85 percent of total revenues as compared to 83 percent in the first quarter of 2015, and rose to €200.7 million in the current first quarter, driven by double-digit growth in Asia and good results in all the other regions. Retail sales were up by 23 percent at constant exchange rates to €170.1 million, driven by organic growth of Moncler's directly-owned flagship stores. Retail revenues accounted for 72 percent of total revenues versus 69 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
As of March 31, 2016, Moncler had a network of 175 monobrand stores compared with 173 at Dec. 31, 2015 and 151 a year earlier, and 34 wholesale shop-in-shops compared with 30 a year earlier. Two new retail stores were opened in the first quarter of 2016, in Nagoya Isetan, Japan and Ala Moana, Hawaii. The company expects to open 15 new retail stores in 2016, including flagships in Madison Avenue, New York and Bond Street, London. Wholesale revenues for the quarter reached €67.2 million and were up by 7 percent, or 5 percent at constant exchange rates, boosted by the good performance in North America and Europe.
In Asia & Rest of the World, revenues jumped by 32 percent, or 30 percent at constant exchange rates, with growth in all markets. Mainland China posted outstanding results, driven by the sales performance during Chinese New Year and the success of the spring/summer collections. Japan reported double-digit growth, boosted by the excellent results of the newly opened flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. In Korea, where efforts are focused on brand perception and stores positioning, sales also showed good growth.
In the Americas, sales grew by 21 percent, or 28 percent at constant exchange rates, supported by solid growth in both direct and wholesale channels. In the U.S., the wholesale channel benefited from a better penetration in Moncler's top wholesale accounts, while retail growth was driven by store openings. Canada continued to show good results.
In the Europe Middle East Africa region (EMEA), excluding Italy, sales grew by 5 percent, despite some slow-down in tourism. All North European markets, in particular Germany and the U.K., showed good results in both the retail and wholesale channels. France and Belgium slightly underperformed as compared to the rest of Europe, impacted by the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and the consequent slowdown in tourist flows. In Italy revenues rose by 5 percent, thanks to the results of both distribution channels and despite some ongoing wholesale accounts selection.
The company said it expects to reach further sales growth in 2016 as compared to 2015, notwithstanding the persistently uncertain and volatile macroeconomic situation.