Moncler posted consolidated revenues of €493.5 million in the first half of 2018, up by 21 percent at current exchange rates as compared to the first half of last year. On a currency-neutral basis, Moncler's growth reached 27 percent. The turnover was lifted by the group's sales in Asia, which accounted for more than 40 percent of the total, and the success of the first Moncler Genius collection. Sales growth was recorded across all distribution channels and across all markets.
The company's net income increased to €61.6 million from €41.8 million in the first half of 2017. In its press release, Moncler said that its results beat both market expectations and the company's own estimates. The consolidated gross margin of €374.9 million was equivalent to a hefty level of 76.0 percent of revenues, up from 75.6 percent in the same period of 2017, and the improvement was mainly attributable to the growth in the retail channel. The adjusted Ebitda margin rose by 1.3 percentage points to 25.1 percent. After accounting for amortization and depreciation, the Ebit margin went up by 1.9 percentage points to 17.4 percent. Free cash flow jumped to €66.3 million from €39.6 million in the year-ago period.
In Italy, revenues rose by 9 percent, mainly driven by the strong growth of the retail channel. In the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa), sales rose by 15 percent at current exchange rates and by 17 percent at constant exchange rates. France continued to record double-digit growth thanks to strong local demand and the sustained flow of tourists. The U.K. achieved, also in the second quarter, a good performance, despite a challenging comparison base. The progress the U.K. was supported by organic growth at retail, a positive contribution from wholesale clients, and the launch of 7 Moncler Fragment Hiroshi Fujiwara. Germany also performed well in the second quarter.
In Asia & Rest of the World, revenues increased by 32 percent at current exchange rates, while the sales increase was of 42 percent at constant exchange rates, with all markets recording solid double-digit growth even in the second quarter. In particular, Japan significantly accelerated in the second quarter, also thanks to the successful launch of 7 Moncler Fragment Hiroshi Fujiwara. Moncler continued to register very good performances in China, where the brand reduced its prices by 3.5 percent on average since the beginning of July, following the decision by the Chinese government to reduce import duties.
In the Americas, revenues grew by 17 percent in euros and by 29 percent in local currencies, with double-digit growth also in the second quarter. Strong sales at the retail and wholesale levels in the U.S. and Canada were supported by a positive trend in the existing stores and the opening of new wholesale shop-in- shops.
By distribution channel, Moncler's retail sales recorded a 26 percent in reported terms to €376.8 million in the first half, with an increase of 33 percent at constant exchange rates and growth of 27 percent on a comparable store basis. The performance of the retail distribution channel was driven by robust organic growth and a further development of Moncler's network of retail mono-brand stores (DOS), Moncler said. The wholesale channel recorded revenues of €116.7 million, an increase of 8 percent at current exchange rates and of 12 percent at constant exchange rates, driven by particularly good results in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
As of June 30, 2018, Moncler's network of single-brand stores consisted of 209 retail directly operated units (DOS), eight more as compared to Dec. 31, 2017, and 65 wholesale shop-in-shops (SiS), an increase of six units as compared to six months earlier. In the second quarter, Moncler opened four DOS and four shop-in-shops.