Being independent is better. “We decided to remain independent in order to remain authentic and creative,” said Dolce & Gabbana CEO Alfonso Dolce. The brand expects to return to pre-pandemic levels as early as this year, despite not yet fully recovering from the epic fail in China three years ago. Sales in the People’s Republic are up 20% this year compared to 2020. But they remain below the levels recorded before the misstep. For analyst Luca Solca, the brand’s independence will depend on China.
The latest fiscal year
D&G closed its last fiscal year in March: turnover lost 15% (1.16 billion dollars). But from April onwards the situation improved, thanks to sales in North and South America. Alfonso Dolce (pictured), brother of co-creative director Domenico, estimates 25% growth in the financial year ending March 2022. The debacle in China is still weighing on them. “Speaking in absolute terms, we have not completely overcome the incident,” he said, as quoted by the South China Morning Post. “We have recovered in terms of institutional relations, although we are still suffering from some animosity between certain groups on social media”. According to the manager himself, the brand has managed to retain existing Chinese customers, but has struggled to win new ones. The brand has around 1,200 employees in China, and plans to open a new boutique in Shanghai soon.
China is likely to be the watershed for D&G’s desire to remain independent. At least Solca, an analyst for Bernstein, thinks so. In his opinion, autonomy has not saved the company from a debacle in China, in fact it has probably made things worse. “If this stigma can be overcome, then the company could remain independent. If not, I doubt it”.
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