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HK unrest has slashed local sales, says Ferragamo

Paris

SALVATORE Ferragamo's sales in Hong Kong fell 45 per cent during the third quarter as months of anti-Beijing protests held back spending by tourists and locals alike.

The decline at the Italian maker of leather pumps and silk scarves exceeded the impact estimated by some rival luxury companies. LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, previously said sales in the territory fell 25 per cent during the quarter, while Gucci owner Kering reported a 35 per cent drop.

Ferragamo offset the falling sales in Hong Kong with strong growth on the mainland, as China sales grew 15 per cent excluding currency shifts in the first nine months of the year, the company said late Tuesday.

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The stock rose as much as 3.5 per cent in Milan trading on Wednesday. The management guided to a slight growth acceleration in the fourth quarter, according to Flavio Cereda, an analyst at Jefferies.

The prolonged disruption is raising concerns about the territory's future as a shopping destination. The city's days as a luxury hub are numbered, according to Cereda, and brands are likely to rethink their presence there. Prada is leading the exodus, planning to close its largest Hong Kong location in Causeway Bay after its lease expires next year. BLOOMBERG