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Saint Laurent's sales are about to exceed 3 billion euros

The brand is set to become Kering's new commercial giant

Saint Laurent's sales are about to exceed 3 billion euros The brand is set to become Kering's new commercial giant

Saint Laurent has always been at the top of the fashion food chain - and yet its status is on the verge of becoming even more titanic than it is today. Under the direction of Francesca Bellettini, and with Anthony Vaccarello solidly at the helm of its creative output, not only have its sales increased fivefold since 2013 but, according to analysts' estimates, based on the 49 percent increase in sales in the last quarter, the brand could earn more than 3 billion euros this year. The figure is hugely important because Kering's own management, when presenting its final quarter results for 2021, had spoken of Saint Laurent as the group's next business giant after Gucci. For the record: in fashion, those capable of exceeding 5 billion in annual sales are considered mega-brands. A success that CEO Bellettini attributes mainly to «the consistency of our strategy», as BoF reports, but also to its peculiar resilience due to the fact that the brand remains historically very strong in local markets and is not overly dependent on tourist flows. 

The magnification of Saint Laurent also says something about where market trends are heading. According to HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg, in fact «consumers are looking for references, they’re looking for iconic products, and this is one of the most iconic French brands. They don’t need to make noise every other minute to draw you in». A notion that thus confirms the public's thirst for classicism and timelessness, which is beginning to tire of the lightning-fast and constant recycling of trends. Clearly, this kind of discourse does not exclude an evolution of the brand: Vaccarello's idea of bringing back the classic YSL monogram on products, for example, proved to be a commercial success as well as his slow but steady pivot toward a kind of glamour that did not renounce the sensuality that Hedi Slimane had injected in the brand but coated it with a new and more stately allure, made of tweed jackets, faux furs, and elegant blazers paired with latex pants. 

Clearly, handbags remain the leading category, making up 72 percent of sales - and this is without the price increase strategy implemented by other brands throughout the year. «The accessories are what help clients entering the brand», explained Bellettini, «while the ready-to-wear is about growing in the brand,” We can raise prices, but at the same time we need to protect the entry-point. What is relevant is to always offer the right balance of the price of the product and the value. That way when you launch a high-priced product, people are willing to pay. It’s not that there’s no price resistance, there’s no brand resistance. They believe that what they’re paying for is worthwhile». The brand's closeness to its customers has also been the driving force behind Saint Laurent's success in reopenings: after sending a bouquet of roses to its VICs getting a very positive reaction on the sales side. Now the brand is preparing to accelerate in the American market and open the largest boutique in the brand's history in Paris next year. And if analysts' estimates are exceeded, Saint Laurent's path to the club of fashion's commercial giants will be assured.