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Tod's family owner to keep investing despite sliding sales

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Tod's family owner to keep investing despite sliding sales
FILE PHOTO: Shoes of Italian luxury shoemaker Tod's are displayed in the window of the company's store in Zurich, Switzerland, April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
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MILAN (Reuters) – Italian shoemaker Tod’s <TOD.MI> said on Wednesday it would push on with investments in promoting its brands and that falling sales had not tempted the controlling family to take the luxury firm private.

The group, best known for its 450 euro (£415) per pair Gommino loafers, has been struggling for several years to rejuvenate its brands in a crowded marketplace and boost sluggish sales.

Group sales fell to 454.6 million euros in the first half of the year, 4.7% below the same period in 2018. The rate of growth in sales from its directly-owned stores (same store sales growth) fell 4.5%.

Positive news came from its retail channel, where sales rose 6.5%, driven by its online platform.

Chief Financial Officer Emilio Macellari told analysts on a conference call the company expected full-year results to be similar to those achieved in the first half.

In May, Macellari had told analysts that meeting the market’s expectations for 2019 results could be challenging.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Diego Della Valle’s family has been gradually building its holding to 64% of the company, whose stable of brands also includes Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier.

Della Valle, a well-known businessman in Italy, said in a statement he and his family were confident in their strategy for Tod’s and would continue to buy company shares.

“The real challenge for us now is to become even more attractive for the young customers who live in the new markets … we need to increase our investments to be more attractive and visible,” Della Valle said.

Macellari said that as far as he knew, the family had not considered the possibility of taking the company private.

Asked by analysts about whether the major shareholders believed in the company’s future, Chief Executive Officer Umberto Macchi di Cellere said: “The family is very convinced that this is definitely not a lost battle at all.”

Tod’s reported a net loss of 6 million euros for the period.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Jane Merriman)

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