LONDON — Manolo Blahnik had a milestone year in 2022, with sales rising 69 percent to 118.2 million euros and pretax profit more than tripling to 21.9 million euros on the back of robust demand for styles including the Hangisi and the Maysale.
Kristina Blahnik, the chief executive officer who has been spearheading that growth, said the company plans to thank its employees by handing out more than 1 million euros in bonuses in November.
According to figures set to be filed at Companies House, the register of U.K. businesses, operating profit increased fivefold to 23.7 million euros in the 12 months to Dec. 31, 2022.
The London-based company reports its results in euros rather than pounds as its wholly owned atelier and production facilities are located in Italy.
The company said all channels experienced a “strong rebound” in consumer demand with store footfall returning to pre-pandemic levels, and e-commerce sales continuing to grow.
The latter were up 24 percent year-over-year, bucking an industry-wide trend. Online sales have fallen at many retailers since physical stores reopened following the pandemic.
The group also benefited from a full year of sales in its two U.S. boutiques, a flagship on Madison Avenue and a second store in East Hampton, N.Y.
A collaboration with Birkenstock sold out within hours of launch, generated “huge” brand awareness, and attracted new customers, according to the brand. There were two Birkenstock product drops, in March and in June, and both generated strong levels of engagement across social channels, Manolo Blahnik added.
The company said occasionwear and classic styles drove growth in the womenswear category.
Embellished designs saw a surge in popularity straight after lockdowns lifted, with the signature Hangisi buckle shoe driving sales.
The company said the trend began to change toward the end of 2022, when there was increased demand for simple investment pieces. The Maysale mule, which was designed in the late ‘90s, helped to drive that growth.
Menswear continued to grow, due partly to a brand awareness campaign that went live in the fourth quarter of last year across all brand channels, with a focus on the U.K. and U.S. markets, the company added.
Kristina Blahnik said in 2022 sales across all channels rebounded “very strongly and firmly, establishing our position in the U.S. market.”
She described 2022 as an “extraordinary year of consumer demand, which will naturally rebalance in 2023 given multiple macro-economic headwinds.”
Blahnik said the company wanted to give employees the extraordinary bonus in order to “recognize the hard work and dedication of the teams worldwide and their contribution to reaching this milestone.”
The company said in 2022 its work with partner charities The British Red Cross and The Mental Health Foundation in 2022 also increased.
Manolo Blahnik also funded a paper called “It Hurts Your Heart: Frontline Healthcare Worker Experiences of Moral Injury During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which is published by Kings College London.
As reported, the company has shifted its international expansion plans up a gear in the current fiscal year, naming Elodie Bougenault to the position of global chief commercial officer in June.
She is leading the group’s expansion plans, with a particular focus on the Asian market, a priority for Manolo Blahnik following its victory last year in a long-standing intellectual property battle in the Chinese courts.
The company said Bougenault’s appointment will allow the former chief commercial officer and current president of Americas, Andrew Wright, “to fully focus on delivering the significant long-term growth plans” for the Americas.
Some of the changes have been closer to home. In September Manolo Blahnik relocated its U.K. global headquarters from Marylebone to an historic Georgian building in London’s Mayfair, with more than 14,500 gross square feet of office, showroom and meeting spaces.