SMCP, the parent company of popular fashion brands Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot, and De Fursac, endured a tough year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company reported a significant decline in sales, with a 23.9% decrease on an organic basis, or 22.9% when reported, amounting to €873 million for the year. Like-for-like sales fell by 28.6%.

The Americas experienced the largest decline in sales, with a 36.8% decrease on an organic basis, followed by EMEA (excluding France) at 30.1%. Sales in France fell by 23.1%, while APAC saw a decrease of 9.5%.

In the fourth quarter, SMCP reported a 19.4% decline in organic sales, totaling €251.9 million. Store closures during November and December in Europe had a significant impact on sales, resulting in a 20.5% decrease when reported. EMEA experienced a 33.3% decline in organic sales for the quarter, followed by the Americas at 27%, and France at 18.6%. However, APAC managed to achieve a 1.9% increase in organic sales.

The decline in sales can be attributed to weak tourism flows and lockdowns in key markets such as the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands, particularly affecting EMEA. The UK, Italy, and Spain were hit the hardest. Despite these challenges, SMCP saw a strong performance in its digital sales, which increased by 27.6% for the year and 43.1% in the fourth quarter alone. The company effectively managed its costs and cash flow during these challenging periods.

Sandro remained the company’s largest brand, although it experienced a decline in sales of 24.9% to €414.3 million for the year and 22.3% to €155.8 million in the fourth quarter. Maje also saw a 23.2% decline in sales for the year, amounting to €336.8 million, and a 16.2% decline in the fourth quarter, reaching €98.5 million. The combined sales of Claudie Pierlot and De Fursac fell by 14.2% to €121.9 million for the year and by 26% to €32.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Despite the challenging sales figures, there were some positive aspects to note. SMCP experienced significant growth in its digital sales throughout the year, thanks to new initiatives such as live-streaming and virtual shopping. Additionally, the accessories category performed well, with the success of dedicated small leather goods for Christmas and popular bag designs for Maje and Sandro.

The company also made strategic store openings over the past year, expanding in APAC, EMEA, and the Americas while optimizing its network in France by closing nine locations. In the fourth quarter, Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot, and De Fursac all opened in Portugal, and De Fursac opened in Luxembourg.

A notable highlight was the sales increase in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in Mainland China, where sales grew by 21% during the fourth quarter. Despite the impact of anti-coronavirus measures in the rest of Asia, physical stores in China performed well. CEO Daniel Lalonde highlighted the recovery in China since June as a reason for optimism and emphasized the company’s progress in digital initiatives and reaching millennials, especially in China.

While SMCP faced significant challenges in 2020, its strong digital performance and focus on key markets, including China, position it well for recovery in the coming year. The company’s ability to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and effectively manage its operations will be critical to its future success.

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