Dundas to Leave Roberto Cavalli Amid Fashion House Overhaul

  • Italian label to shut two Milan offices and cut 200 jobs
  • Cavalli will also close some stores, relocate others

Roberto Cavalli SpA will cut 200 jobs, close some stores and part ways with creative director Peter Dundas as the luxury fashion house responds to an industry slowdown.

The Italian company will consolidate operations at its Florence headquarters and close its corporate and design office in Milan, reducing headcount by about 200 positions out of 672 total, it said in a statement Wednesday. It will also close some stores and relocate others as part of a broader overhaul to return to profitability by 2018, it said. Cavalli, known for eccentric animal-print fashions, is owned by Italian private-equity firm Clessidra Sgr, while founder Roberto Cavalli, 75, retains a small stake.

“The fashion industry is facing uniquely challenging times, with changing consumer demands, significant contraction in various key markets, and fundamental transformation in the industry’s dynamics,” Chief Executive Officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris said in the statement. “In this environment, only iconic brands with a coherent business model and an efficient organization can survive.”

The luxury industry had been grappling with weaker demand in Asia, exacerbated by a slowdown in tourism to Europe following terrorist attacks. Richemont, the parent of Cartier, has warned that profit will slump amid declining demand for Swiss watches, while Hermes International SCA abandoned a long-term sales growth target. Not all companies are struggling -- LVMH’s third-quarter sales beat estimates, for example -- but the tumult has staggered share prices and prompted a series of management reshuffles.

Kering SA last month appointed former Hugo Boss chief Claus-Dietrich Lahrs as the new head of its Bottega Veneta brand. Burberry Group Plc has handed the CEO role to Marco Gobbetti, allowing Christopher Bailey to steer the creative side, and Gianni Versace SpA has also replaced its CEO, tapping Jonathan Akeroyd from Kering’s Alexander McQueen. Dundas joined in March 2015 and presented the company’s spring/summer 2017 collection in Milan last month.

A successor for Dundas will be appointed “in due course,” Cavalli said in an earlier statement Wednesday. The Norweigan designer was in his second stint at Cavalli, where he worked from 2002 to 2005 before becoming creative director of the Emilio Pucci brand. He returned to the label in 2015.

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