Message from the Chairman
In 2020, the world experienced a major crisis; a health crisis, but also one that had economic, social and environmental impacts. This unprecedented challenge was met with an exceptional response that combined resilience, solidarity and creativity. Kering naturally played its part in this collective effort.
Whatever the circumstances, I believe that companies have a major role to play in society, and that their purpose should not be limited to the pursuit of business success. Instead, they should dare to express their views and take action, based on their values and the resources at their disposal. This has been the approach taken by Kering and its Houses during the pandemic, in the form of practical support for healthcare workers, for example, and help for women who are victims of domestic violence, a situation that was considerably aggravated during lockdown. In the same way, we also supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, as we believe that we have a responsibility to be part of certain debates in society.
Taking care of our employees, clients and suppliers is an intrinsic part of our identity and our vision of Luxury—one that is responsible, sincere and a reflection of the diversity in our societies. Through the creativity of our Houses, the richness of their worlds, and the values they embody, we want to give everyone the chance to express their own unique personality.
Daring, agility, determination and resilience
Kering’s culture is all about daring, agility and determination. They were the values behind the resilience we showed in 2020 and I am extremely proud of the way we reacted collectively, and I would like to thank every one of our 38,000 employees.
Given the exceptional complexity of the business environment, we delivered a solid performance, with consolidated revenues of €13.1 billion and recurring operating income of €3.1 billion. Four of our Houses even saw their sales increase during the year, despite world markets being disrupted by store closures. The crisis also led to an acceleration of several consumer trends, such as online sales and increased focus on corporate social responsibility. These trends have long been reflected in our business strategy, enabling us to deal efficiently with the disruption caused by the pandemic. They were also behind our earlier decision to internalize the e-commerce sites of our Houses. Similarly, thanks to innovation projects already underway, we were able to roll out digital versions of certain processes more quickly, such as showrooms and product development.
In terms of sustainability, we have never been so ambitious, not only for ourselves but also for the fashion sector as a whole. Through the Fashion Pact coalition, which we are proud to have assembled around the issues of climate change, biodiversity and protecting the oceans, we want to lead a collective effort to reduce our sector’s environmental footprint.
Offering an experience that is seamless, personalized and laced with emotion
Faced with the slowdown in international tourism, our Houses responded by taking innovative approaches to strengthening their relationships with local clients. The role of boutiques was rethought, given the changes in expectations. More than ever, our boutiques have become the focus of the unique experience our Houses aim to provide: one that is seamless, personalized and characterized by emotion. Thanks to solutions based on artificial intelligence and innovative digital tools, our sales personnel are able to provide an even more comprehensive service to their clients, even when the latter prefer to interact remotely, while our Houses are able to improve their visibility, efficiency and desirability.
The crisis has not changed our vision of Luxury, which remains based on creativity and responsibility. Instead, it has accelerated trends that continue to inform our development strategy. Thanks to its multi‑brand business model and the immense potential of its Houses, Kering is looking to the future with confidence and determination. Thanks to our strategy and growth platforms, we have extensive resources in areas such as e-commerce, logistics and innovation. Thanks to our robust financial structure, we can continue to invest in our Houses, so that they can consolidate their market positions. We are now in a stronger position, and confident in our ability to return to a trajectory of profitable growth. Given our discipline and agility, we are in an even better position to seize opportunities to rebound in the months and years ahead.