Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth in the period, where revenues were up 12% currency-adjusted to EUR100m

Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth in the period, where revenues were up 12% currency-adjusted to EUR100m

German fashion brand Hugo Boss hailed a successful start to 2018 as earnings and revenue climbed in the first quarter thanks, in the main, to double-digit sales growth in Asia Pacific.

For the three months, net income totalled EUR50m (US$60m) from EUR48m in the year-ago period, an increase of 3%. Gross profit margin narrowed slightly, down 40 basis points to 64% as a result of investments in the product quality of Boss and Hugo, partially offset by positive effects from the growing share in sales of the group's own retail business.

Group sales were up 5% to EUR650m, with growth achieved in all three regions in the first quarter, as the company's "dynamic performance" in the US and Asia continued. Online sales, meanwhile, were up by 43%.

Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth in the period, where revenues were up 12% currency-adjusted to EUR100m, while the Americas grew 7% to EUR118m. Sales in Europe increased 3% to EUR416m with Great Britain acting as the main driver, where sales climbed 12%. Sales in the group's domestic market, however, declined by 5% amid a difficult market environment.

"We made a good start to 2018," said CEO Mark Langer. "Our growth is broad-based. The strong increase in the group's own retail business shows that our new collections are being well received by customers. Our investments in the quality of our products and the desirability of our brands are therefore paying off. Also, the substantial progress achieved in the online business is encouraging.

"This positive performance strengthens our confidence that we will achieve our sales and earnings targets for the full year."

Meanwhile, the group's own retail business again provided the growth driver, with comp store sales up 7%. Its Boss brand achieved the highest sales growth at 7% to EUR562m, while double-digit growth in casualwear at Hugo could not make up for declines in businesswear as the brand booked a 6% decline in sales in the period.

Overall, menswear achieved 6% sales growth to EUR581m, primarily thanks to growth in casualwear, while womenswear saw a decline of 3% to EUR69m. Hugo Boss attributed the sales slip to its Boss brand, relating it to the reduction in retail space, which was not offset by the growth in the Hugo brand.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects group sales and consolidated net income to increase at a low to single-digit percentage rate for the year.