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Chanel will "remain independent" as sales leap to almost £9bn

Lauretta Roberts
17 June 2019

Parisian luxury house Chanel has reinforced its will to remain independent as it posted sales up 12.5% to £8.84bn ($11.12bn) during 2018.

Net profits at the house, which was hit by the death of its long-standing and legendary chief designer Karl Lagerfeld in February, leapt 16.4% to $2.17bn. The results were said to have been buoyed by strong demand from Chinese customers at home and abroad.

Chief Financial Officer Philippe Blondiaux told Reuters that speculation the house would be sold by its owners Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer (grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, an early business partner of Gabrielle Chanel) was rife, but that it would remain independent.

"Chanel needs to remain independent, in order to have the freedom to make choices that go against the grain, such as no longer using exotic animal skins, or by harmonising prices," Blondiaux said.

Chanel became the highest profile fashion house to denounce fur at the end of last year and also said that it would drop exotic skins. Instead, it said, it would focus its research and development on textiles and leathers generated by “agri-food” industries.

Speculation that Chanel might be open to offers began when it started to publish its financial results for the first time since the house was founded by Gabrielle Chanel in 1910.

Its main luxury rivals are Kering and LVMH which have revenues of €13.67bn and €47bn respectively. It is understood that many believe that, with an estimated value of €100bn, the house would be too large for its main rivals to absorb.

Lagerfeld was replaced at the head of Chanel by his right-hand woman Virginie Viard.

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