Sales: $3.2 billion (estimated) for beauty products. Corporate sales: $9.6 billion.
Key Personnel: Alain Wertheimer, global chief executive officer and co-chairman; Gerard Wertheimer, co-chairman; Philippe Blondiaux, chief financial officer.
Major Products: Fragrances—Chanel No. 5, Allure, Allure Homme, Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance, No.19, Cristalle, Pour Monsieur, Antaeus, Egoïste, Les Exclusifs, Bleu de Chanel. Skin care—Sublimage, Ultra Correction Lift and Line Repair, Hydramax + Active, White Essentiel, Le Blanc, Hydra-Beauty. Color cosmetics—Rouge Allure, Rouge Coco, Le Vernis, Inimitable, Inimitable Intense, Les 4 Ombres, Vitalumière, Joues Contrastes.
New Products: Gabrielle fragrance, Neon Wave cosmetics.
Comments: For many years, the only number Chanel wanted to talk about was, well, No 5. Not anymore. In June, the privately-held company opened its books (a bit) to report 2017 corporate sales that were just shy of $10 billion. The total puts Chanel among luxury leaders ahead of Gucci and behind Louis Vuitton.
The announcement marked the first time in 108 years that the luxury goods company, which has always kept that information close to the vest, had officially released performance numbers. Corporate sales rose 11.5% to $9.62 billion in 2017, according to Chanel. Happi estimates that sales are evenly split between three divisions: cosmetics, fashion and jewelry. The gain was due to a 16.5% increase in Asia. Profit rose 18.5% to $1.79 billion. The launch of Gabrielle propelled fragrance sales higher in 2017, according to the company.
Some media reports suggested the company released the earnings information following reports that it was a target of an acquisition. The move to publish was “absolutely not” a precursor to a stock market listing, chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux told Reuters. He also ruled out a sale.
“We are very proud of who we are at Chanel and how much we have achieved while always retaining a core vision and creative heritage,” Blondiaux said. “This will remain the same in 10 years, 50 years—centuries—to come. This is what we want to communicate.”
Lost somewhat in all of the financial fanfare was Chanel’s announcement that it established a new, London-headquartered holding company, Chanel Limited, as part of efforts to bring all its businesses and 20,000 employees under a single roof and to simplify a legal and organizational structure unchanged since the 1950s. Blondiaux was named director for Britain.
Now that we know the numbers, we want to know who’s in the wings? Chanel’s co-chairmen and brothers Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, each own half of Chanel and have $14.1 billion fortunes, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. But Alain is 69 years old and Gérard is 68—even billionaires can’t buy more time on earth!