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Wanda Ferragamo, matriarch of famed shoemaker, dies at 96

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By Reuters

FLORENCE (Reuters) – Wanda Ferragamo, the honorary president of the Florentine shoemaker founded by her husband Salvatore, has died at the age of 96, the family said on Friday.

Wanda was left a widow 58 years ago when her husband passed away. She took charge of Salvatore Ferragamo <SFER.MI> alongside her 16-year-old daughter, quickly learning how to run a business while raising her six children.

In recent months the family repeatedly dismissed speculation about a possible sale of the fashion group and appointed Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi, a highly-respected former Gucci executive, as the group’s new CEO in July.

The Florence-based group, which issued a profit warning in December, has been battling falling sales and profitability, partly due to a clean-up of inventories. It said in July it would continue to invest in relaunching the brand.

(Reporting by Silvia Ognibene and Valentina Za; Writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Edmund Blair)