LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton And Nicholas Kirkwood Are Parting Ways
PARIS, FRANCE — After a 7-year partnership, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Nicholas Kirkwood are parting ways.
The designer is taking back control of his British footwear label.
“This decision was mutual and amicable,” LVMH told BoF in a statement. The company said it would continue to support Kirkwood over the next few months to “ensure a smooth transition,” though it didn’t disclose the financial terms of the transaction. The split is expected to complete by the end of the year.
Kirkwood declined to comment.
Nicolas Kirkwood only accounts for a small portion of sales within LVMH’s €22.2 billion fashion division, which is driven by mega brands Louis Vuitton and Dior.
LVMH doesn’t break out sales for individual brands, however, according to UK company filings, Nicholas Kirkwood has been suffering from widening losses. Turnover in 2019 was down 28 percent from the year previous at £8.14 million according to a report published to Companies’ House on August 7. That same year the company suffered an operating loss of £3.3 million an increase on losses of £2.46 million in 2018. (The brand is yet to report financials for the coronavirus period.)
“When times are tough, you may be tempted to clean up your act. Kirkwood was not going places as a brand and was likely generating (small) losses, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, hence, a good candidate for rationalisation,” said Bernstein analyst Luca Solca. “LVMH has a long tail of underperforming brands in the fashion and luxury goods division. The tail is now apparently one little bit shorter.”
Nicholas Kirkwood launched his namesake label in 2005 with co-founder Christopher Suarez, who was the brand’s CEO until he exited the business in 2015. The label garnered much buzz from press and buyers drawn to Kirkwood‘s signature sculptural high heels, and Kirkwood became the first accessories designer to win the British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award. LVMH bought an undisclosed majority stake in the company in September 2013.
Today the brand’s shoes, which retail between £400 and £1,000, are stocked at global luxury retailers including Matchesfashion and Net-a-Porter, as well as top-tier department stores like Harrods, Galeries Lafayette and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Recently, the label has worked to reduce its reliance on wholesale retailers, attempting to boost its own direct-to-consumer sales by inking a partnership with luxury marketplace Farfetch and re-launching its own e-commerce website in September 2019. The brand also has a flagship retail store, located in London’s Mayfair neighborhood.
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