OVS Grows Market Share, Issues Sustainability-linked Bond

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MILAN — Stefano Beraldo, chief executive officer of Italian retailer OVS, was upbeat on Tuesday, presenting a company structure that was recently strengthened through a capital increase of 81 million euros.

OVS is also issuing a six-year sustainability-linked senior unrated bond for between 150 million euros and a maximum of 200 million euros. The bond’s offer will begin on Oct. 27 and end on Nov. 3. Shareholder Tamburi Investment Partners has expressed interest in subscribing to the bond, said Beraldo.

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Beraldo said that OVS has “completely absorbed lost sales of 400 million euros caused by the lockdowns last year.”

The new financial resources will be channeled into technological innovations to save energy, set up photovoltaic panels, digitalization and the management of energy in the group’s store network. Further acquisitions were also not ruled out, “if they create value.” OVS has been investing in the relaunch of Stefanel, the storied Italian brand it acquired earlier this year.

Beraldo trumpeted “a very positive third quarter,” and said that OVS has reached a 9 percent market share, up by 100 basis points in the year, thanks to a strong performance of the stores — without opening new ones — and e-commerce.

Sales in the first half of the year were up 59.5 percent to 599.2 million euros, compared with the same period in 2020.

Online sales rose 30 percent compared with 2020 and 77 percent compared with 2019. OVS customers total 4.7 million, up 12 percent in a year.

In the second quarter, OVS generated a cash flow of 75.7 million euros.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the second quarter amounted to 54.5 million euros, up 50.9 percent compared with the same period last year and up 45.7 percent compared with 2019. “This was the highest EBITDA ever, thanks to the positive sales performance, our cost control and the careful management of the markdowns,” said Beraldo, underscoring the group’s “solidity, ability to generate cash and to react to outside events, as well as its positioning, which offers an important alternative to shoppers.”

OVS has been attracting new customers by becoming more of a platform, which in addition to offering a range of products designed and created in-house is opening up to collaborations with other brands, including Gap, Baby Angel, first launched with the late Elio Fiorucci, and Grand & Hills, with Davide De Giglio, who would go on to create New Guards Group. “Gap is an international icon and it’s impossible to buy in Italy unless in Milan and Rome or online,” said Beraldo, who also introduced the Nina Kendosa brand to the stores, as well as Piombo for men and from this fall for women, designed by Massimo Piombo, who is also creative director of OVS.

Beraldo believes in a “multichannel platform offering contemporary, accessible, easy-to-wear fashion, sustainable and far from the fast fashion concept, with lasting, timeless designs.” This is also in sync with the increased investments in sustainability. He was proud to note that OVS has jumped to the top spot in the Fashion Transparency Index.

“We are not only a traditional retailer, vertically integrated, but a player with one of the biggest and most structured supply chains at the European level,” said Beraldo.

OVS, which went public in 2015 on the Milan Stock Exchange, also includes the UPIM chain and operates around 1,400 stores in Italy and 400 outside the country.

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