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Family business roundup: Growth at Versace, flat figures at Carlson and Loblaw

Versace powers ahead on strong luxury demand, possible listing. Across the Atlantic, hospitality group Carlson and retailer Loblaw reported slow revenue growth.

Versace powers ahead on strong luxury demand, possible listing. Across the Atlantic, hospitality group Carlson and retailer Loblaw reported slow revenue growth.

Versace
On the back of strong sales growth, the family controlled Versace said it is looking at a possible sale of a stake in the business or an initial public offering to raise money for expansion and pay off debt.

The Donatella Versace-led fashion house said revenues were up 20% in 2012 to €408.7 million on the back of significant growth in North America, where sales doubled. The results are particularly impressive given that only a few years ago many felt Versace would struggle to revive its brand and sales growth.

The Milan-based business has undergone extensive restructuring since 2009 under the leadership of non-family chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who was brought in to revive the struggling company.

Ferraris oversaw Versace's expansion into Asia, which now contributes 40% of the revenue growth.

The company is now seeking to maintain this growth and is considering a float to fund expansion, particularly in Asia, and to pay off debt incurred during restructuring.

Carlson
In the US, hospitality company Carlson, controlled by branches of the eponymous founding family, said revenues were flat at $37.6 billion (€28.8 billion) in 2012.

Non-family chief executive Trudy Rautio said in a statement: "Carlson's outlook for the remainder of 2013 is one of measured optimism. We'll continue to grow and invest in regions where we have the right partners and opportunities already in the pipeline."

Loblaw
Canadian-based retailer Loblaw – owned by the Weston family through George Weston Foods – reported a rise of 1.1% in revenues to Cad$31.6 billion (€23.8 billion) in 2012. But net profits fell 15.4% to $650 million from $769 million in 2011.

In a letter to shareholders, fourth-gen chairman Galen Weston Jr blamed the slowdown on the increasingly competitive Canadian retail environment, while heavy investment in the company's IT systems cut into profits. 

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