March.14 - German fashion house Hugo Boss is expecting stronger sales in Asia this year, helped by a rebound on the Chinese market, which stuttered last year. Ciara Sutton reports.
Sharp suits and clean cut businessmen - the trademark look of fashion house Hugo Boss. And it's not going out of style anytime soon - the company says sales and earnings will rise in 2013 beating forecasts for the luxury goods market. But it says growth will be slower than last year - with profit expected to be under 10 percent. That outlook disappointed some analysts, and the shares, which have risen 19 percent over the last year, were down 2 percent on the news. CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs says he's pinning its hopes on the rise of a new type of customer. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUGO BOSS CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CLAUS-DIETRICH LAHRS, SAYING: "We see a very strong movement back to being dressed well in order to give a good impression - this is true for men but also for women, especially for the professional woman. We see a very strong momentum with professional women in executive positions being interested more and more in what Hugo Boss is able to provide." As well as opening new stores in eastern Europe and pursuing its wholesale business, the company is having to keep up with all consumer platforms. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUGO BOSS CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CLAUS-DIETRICH LAHRS, SAYING: "Online is big on our agenda, online has a huge priority in our program and we believe that being online with a high quality side is absolutely necessary in order to be credible." A first store for Nigeria opened recently and Hugo Boss is also expecting stronger sales in China this year, the luxury goods market there has taken a battering amid slowing growth. But forecasts suggest the luxury market will grow by around 6 percent a year until 2015, compared to 10 percent in 2012.