Manolo Blahnik Group Swings to Profit, Notches Record Sales in 2021

LONDON Manolo Blahnik Group returned to profitability and notched record sales in 2021, its 50th anniversary year, according to filings at Companies House, the register of U.K. businesses.

In the 12 months to Dec. 31, 2021, profit before tax rose to 6.5 million euros, compared with a loss of 4.7 million euros in fiscal 2020. EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, increased to 8.8 million euros from 500,000 euros.

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Sales climbed 65 percent to 69.9 million euros from 42.3 million euros in the corresponding period in 2020.

The group said it achieved record sales despite pandemic-related store closures in the first quarter in several key markets. The brand’s e-commerce channel helped offset this impact of the closures, “and this continues to grow as customers more regularly choose to browse and shop online,” the group said.

Like-for-like sales rose 47 percent in the 12-month period, while global e-commerce sales recorded triple-digit growth compared with the previous year due to “high levels of demand in the market,” and the limited ability to shop in-store in the early part of the year.

The company said its 50th anniversary year also saw it expand internationally. During the period, the group solidified its U.S. presence by opening its head office and new flagship boutique on Madison Avenue in New York, and a second store, in East Hampton, New York.

Both experienced “encouraging sales” in their opening year, the company said.

To commemorate the anniversary, Manolo Blahnik developed a capsule collection and also debuted its first virtual experience, The Manolo Blahnik Archives: A New Way of Walking, on its website.

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An embellished style by Manolo Blahnik.

Both were well-received globally and marked a significant milestone in the brand’s history, the company said.

As reported, The Manolo Blahnik Archives: A New Way of Walking is part museum, part VIP gallery tour, part pop culture lecture that brings the designer’s work, inspirations and memories to life in a 3D experience that stretches across five separate “rooms.”

Judith Clark, a curator who specializes in fashion exhibitions, worked closely with Kristina Blahnik, the company’s chief executive officer; designer Manolo Blahnik, and the in-house archive team on the project, which takes visitors through a guided tour of footwear designs, and memories.

The current year is shaping up to be a strong one for the brand.

Kristina Blahnik said that since the end of 2021 the company has continued to make “excellent progress with exceptional sales.” She also mentioned the “hugely meaningful victory for the brand in the long-running trademark case in China, which is a market we look forward to developing in the years to come.”

The Chinese dispute was resolved in July 2022.

As reported, following a 22-year legal battle, The Supreme People’s Court of China, the highest court in the country, invalidated an unlawful trademark dating back to 2000 that incorporated the name of Manolo Blahnik.

The ruling means the company can now use its name, and sell its footwear offerings, to customers across mainland China, and in Hong Kong and Taipei.

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