Luggage manufacturer Samsonite has reported a 16.6% surge in half-year sales to $1.19bn (£762m), driven by growth in its retail business.

  • Samsonite’s net retail sales jump 20.9% in six months to June 30
  • Direct-to-consumer ecommerce sales increase 29%
  • Boss Ramesh Tainwala wants retail sales to account for 50% of Samsonite’s revenues

Samsonite’s adjusted EBITDA jumped 8.4% to $15.6m (£9.94m) in the six months to June 30 as the group continued new chief executive Ramesh Tainwala’s strategy of “enhancing its retail footprint.”

Net sales in its retail division increased 20.9% following the addition of 130 net new stores. That total included 33 Rolling Luggage stores, the travel retailer acquired by Samsonite in February to drive store sales.

The group’s direct-to-consumer ecommerce business also reported a 29% jump in net sales, spearheaded by 29.9% growth in North America and 28.3% growth in Europe.

Samsonite said the figures reflected the strategy of “investing resources, including through acquisitions, such as Rolling Luggage, to support the growth of its direct-to-consumer business, both on- and offline.”

Net sales in Samsonite’s wholesale channel increased 15.6% during the period compared with the first half of 2014.

Balancing act

Tainwala said: “We believe that enhancing our brands’ engagement with the end consumer, through both on- and offline channels, will help maintain our competitive advantage over the long term. Ecommerce is one of our most buoyant distribution channels and one that we continue to invest in to drive growth.

“We are also expanding our direct-to-consumer business, while carefully balancing our retail and wholesale distribution. We made excellent progress on this front with our acquisition of Rolling Luggage in February 2015 as it provides us with a great multi-brand platform to showcase our brands and collections as well as a solid base for future expansion.”

Speaking at its full-year results in March, Tainwala said he wanted Samsonite’s direct retail sales to reach 50% of total sales in the “medium term” through selling brands including JS Trunk, Hartmann, American Tourister and Lipault.