Kering said the first quarter of the year was marked by strong disparities, with an exceptionally good start to the year in January, before the epidemic began to spread; a contrasting month of February, reflecting store closures in Asia-Pacific; and a sharply deteriorating situation in March, due to the gradual closure of stores across Europe and the U.S., the halt in tourism, and the partial closure of its production and logistics facilities towards the end of the quarter. “After a very promising start to the year for all our Houses, the rapid spread of Covid-19 affected our performance in our main markets. We are working hard on ensuring the continuity and readiness of all our businesses. Adapting our cost base and preserving our cash position are top priorities, implemented at all levels of the Group”, said François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO, Kering.

Revenue from the directly operated stores of the Luxury Houses contracted 19.5% on a comparable basis, and was particularly affected by the significant slowdown in Asia-Pacific, followed by Europe later in the quarter. During March, Kering said it began to see encouraging signs in Mainland China with the reopening of most of its stores. The Group said it also recorded a sharp (+21.1%) rise in e-commerce for all its Houses in the quarter. Comparable sales generated through the wholesale network were down 6.8%.

On a reported basis, the Gucci label posted revenue of €1,804.1 million in the quarter, down 22.4%, while sales from directly operated stores fell 23.8% against “an extremely high” first-quarter 2019 comparison basis. Yves Saint Laurent reported revenue of €434.6 million in the period, down 12.6%. According to Kering, Bottega Veneta posted a remarkable performance in the first three months of the year, with revenue up 10.3% as reported and 8.5% on a comparable basis, to €273.7 million. Retail sales in directly operated stores are said to have remained broadly unchanged (- 0.9%) despite the exceptionally unfavourable market context.