Tod's hires designer Incontri to make strides beyond footwear

MILAN, June 20 Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:53pm EDT

MILAN, June 20 (Reuters) - Italian luxury goods group Tod's has hired Italian designer Andrea Incontri as creative director for menswear, the company said on Friday, as it seeks to strengthen its reputation for making clothes and accessories as well as shoes.

Group sales for the maker of bobble-bottomed loafers priced as high as 400 euros ($540) have lagged behind those of rivals in recent quarters, which analysts have attributed partly to its heavy reliance on footwear.

That core business accounts for three quarters of the company's revenue, but luxury shoes tend to offer lower margins than handbags and other accessories because they have to be made in many sizes and take up valuable storage space.

The appointment of 43-year-old Incontri, described by fashion magazine Vogue this year as being "on the path to success", follows a catwalk debut for the brand's womenswear last year under the creative direction of ex-Gucci designer Alessandra Facchinetti.

"His arrival will enrich our men's collections, giving our clients ever more choice, especially in ready-to-wear," Tod's Chairman and Chief Executive Diego Della Valle said in a statement announcing Incontri's appointment.

Tod's, which also owns the Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier brands, has said that the staging of fashion shows should help it to generate publicity and boost credibility for the brand.

Tod's reported flat first-quarter revenue last month, with a decline in like-for-like sales offset by income from new stores. Close peer Salvatore Ferragamo, meanwhile, reported a 3 percent bounce in first-quarter sales. ($1 = 0.7366 Euros)

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by David Goodman)