Ferragamo Gains After Earnings Beat Estimates, Poletto Named CEO

Salvatore Ferragamo SpA shares rose as much as 5.1 percent after the Italian luxury shoemaker reported profitability that beat estimates and named a new chief.

Eraldo Poletto will replace Chief Executive Officer Michele Norsa after he leaves leather-goods maker Furla SpA at the end of June, the company said late Thursday. Gross margin widened by 2.5 percentage points to 67.2 percent in the first quarter, beating analyst estimates of 65.8 percent.

“Ferragamo more than offset the weak demand in the first quarter with further
gross margin improvements,” Barclays Plc analyst Julian Easthope said in a note. “The group is demonstrating excellent management control in the current downturn.”

The improving profitability provides a solid base for Poletto, who has headed Furla since 2010. One of his main challenges will be to address sales that fell 1.8 percent in the first quarter. Under his leadership, Furla’s revenue rose 30 percent in 2015, twice the rate of the year before.

The incoming CEO, who previously headed merchandising at Brooks Brothers, will have to address a creative vacuum after designer Massimiliano Giornetti resigned in March. The recent luxury slowdown has led to a wave of executive departures, including Norsa and Hedi Slimane, the former creative director at Yves Saint Laurent.

Ferragamo also reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 64 million euros ($73 million) in the first quarter. Analysts expected 60 million euros.

The stock traded 4.2 percent higher at 20.52 euros as of 9:12 a.m. in Milan Friday.

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