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Ferragamo's sales jump in 2nd quarter, lag pre-COVID levels

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FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Salvatore Ferragamo shop in Singapore

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian luxury goods group Salvatore Ferragamo almost doubled sales in the second quarter after last year's pandemic-led slump, with China, the Americas and South Korea driving the rebound.

However, revenues were still far from pre-COVID levels and the Florentine brand is counting on the arrival of Burberry Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti at the helm later this year to step up turnaround efforts that have so far struggled to yield results.

Ferragamo, which has been hit harder than most rivals by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis due to its exposure to travel spending, said on Tuesday first-half sales grew by 46.2% at constant exchange rates to 524 million euros ($617 million).

That is roughly a fifth below the level of January-June 2019, despite a 90.5% yearly jump in the second quarter alone.

The trend is improving, however, as the month of July "is continuing to show a solid growth in revenues in directly operated stores in the United States, China, Korea and Latin America both versus 2020 and versus the same period of 2019", the company said. It gave no guidance for the whole of 2021.

Most luxury groups have already reached, if not exceeded, pre-COVID levels. But the pandemic hit Ferragamo just as the family-owned firm strived to rejuvenate a brand famous for the shoes worn by Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn.

The task will now fall to Gobbetti, who is credited with relaunching Burberry by injecting fresh life into the British label.

Sales figures for the first half, which do not include the perfume business, are broadly in line with analyst expectations gathered by Reuters.

Ferragamo, which did not provide a breakdown of revenues for the second quarter, said online sales had performed well in he period, rising 66%.

($1 = 0.8499 euros)

(Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; editing by Valentina Za and Steve Orlofsky)

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