Michael Kors credits digital push with 11% sales rise as it eyes connected watch opportunities

Luxury fashion brand Michael Kors has credited its continued focus on digital with a jump in sales and revenue ahead of expectations in a sector that has had a tumultuous few years.

The US-based fashion brand said the 11.1 per cent uplift in retail sales in the third quarter was driven primarily by e-commerce sales and a focus on building its omnichannel experience.

Sales at Michael Kors had slowed over the last few years admid tough conditions in the luxury market, but with revenue climbing a better-than-expected 6.3 per cent to $1.4bn its chief executive was keen to shine a spotlight on how digital and mobile efforts were stabilising the business.

“As we build on our omnichannel capabilities, and put our digital platforms in place we are on track to launch in six European countries and in 16 more in Europe thereafter,” John Idol, chief executive and chairman of Michael Kors, told analysts earlier today (2 February).

“We are working to seamlessly integrate… and are taking steps to enhance our mobile shopping experience and expect to see the benefits of that over the coming months.”

The brand, which is well known for its watches, is also eyeing up opportunities in the smart watch space and Idol said that as connected accessories reach the watch category globally, he expects Michael Kors to “quickly emerge as a leader of connected fashion as well”.

However, while e-commerce is proving an important part of the business – it is expected to eventually account for 20 per cent of sales – the fashion brand is still banking on bricks and mortar stores, with a plan to eventually have 1000 stores world wide.

“As you become omnichannel you really have a distinct advantage in having stores,” added Idol. “Our [online purchase] returns are coming back to stores and we are not only taking returns but trading up. We embrace omnichannel and the retail flagships that we have today”.

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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