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UPDATE 1-Tod's sales drop 30% in 2020 despite China rebound

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Jan 27 (Reuters) - Sales at fashion group Tod’s fell by almost a third in 2020 after its revenues in the fourth quarter of the year were hit hard by the resurgence of the COVID epidemic in Europe and the United States.

Strong growth in China and in online sales in the fourth quarter failed to offset the fallout from the new lockdown measures as well as a lack of tourists in Western countries.

Total sales decreased by 22.6% in the fourth quarter after a smaller decline of 12.3% in the previous one, the Italian luxury leather goods maker said on Wednesday.

Tod’s, famous for its Gommino loafers, launched a new strategy in late 2017 to revamp its brands and lure younger consumers, but the pandemic has hampered its efforts.

“Our primary goal is to consolidate our communication strategy, particularly the digital one. We are well advanced; when the markets return to normal, we will be ready to begin a lasting growth cycle,” Tod’s founder and top shareholder Diego Della Valle said in a statement.

Full-year revenues dropped by 30.4% to 637.2 million euros ($771.08 million) at current exchange rates, marking the fifth year in a row that annual sales have fallen. The decline is in line with a company-provided consensus of 636 millions euros.

Tod’s also said it had signed last week a credit agreement with a pool of banks for up to 500 million euros “to further strengthen the already solid group’s financial structure and mitigate the risk profile deriving from the current market situation”.

$1 = 0.8264 euros Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi. Editing by Jane Merriman

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