MILAN (Reuters) - Italian handbag and accessories maker Furla said revenues last year rose 24.5 percent thanks to strong demand in its biggest market Japan and sales at the group's airport locations.
The family-owned firm is soon expected to list on the Milan bourse. It has more than doubled turnover in the past five years with its accessibly-priced leather products tapping consumers' growing appetite for more affordable labels.
Global spending for more upper-end luxury brands is starting to recover after the industry was hit in the last two years by a general slowdown, due to lower consumption in China and security threats that hurt tourism, the sector's two largest drivers.
In May last year Furla took the first steps towards a long-awaited flotation by signing a 30-million-euro investment deal with merchant bank Tamburi Investment partners, which said it planned to list the firm this year.
Furla said on Thursday preliminary revenues in 2016 totaled 422 million euros. Net of currency effects, sales were up 22 percent. Like-for-like growth was 9 percent.
The group said it expected further growth this year in its 262 airport locations, where purchases by customers in transit were up 40 percent in 2016.
Full-year sales in Japan, the group's single largest market, representing almost a quarter of its global revenues, were up 31.7 percent. Sales in Italy were up 18 percent, slightly lower than the 23.5 rise in the rest of Europe.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in 2016 rose 48 percent with respect to the previous year. The company did not however give a figure for core profits.
The Bologna-based group said it plans to open new shops in China, Australia, Germany and Britain, after launching almost 30 new stores in 2016.
Furla is working for the Milan listing but to date the timing of the operation has not been defined, Director General Alberto Camerlengo told newspaper Milano Finanza on Thursday.
Reporting by Giulia Segreti; editing by Mark Heinrich