Giorgio Armani at the Emporio Armani spring/summer 2013 collection in Milan. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
While many firms based in southern Europe are finding business tough, the designer label Giorgio Armani is continuing to thrive.
Sales at Armani’s fashion house rose 16% to €2bn in 2012, faster than a year earlier thanks to growth in all geographical regions and after the opening of 104 new shops worldwide, taking the total to more than 2,200. Sales in China slowed slightly but still rose nearly 40%, and operating profits climbed 20% to €340m.
The Milan-based luxury goods maker, which counts movie and music stars including Cate Blanchett, Adele and George Clooney among its customers, is sitting on a €565m cash pile, giving it ample firepower to make acquisitions. But the designer has ruled out a spending spree: “To become the head of a conglomerate would mean destabilising a very delicate balance,” he said. “Personally, I have always linked good liquidity to concepts such as independence and solidity.”
Armani, 77, does not have an obvious heir to his empire. He said he had planned for his succession but declined to give details. “I would like to reassure you. Everything is under control,” Armani said. “I have been planning the ‘after-me’ phase for years. I have a trusted working group that will be able to safely manage the transition when the moment comes.
“Pragmatism is one of my strengths. Do you think I could fail to address a crucial issue such as my succession?”