Alpargatas, the parent company of Havaianas and Osklen, saw first quarter sales rise by 32.7 percent to 901.3 million Brazilian reais (€137.9m-$165.5m), posting its best first quarter in a decade as growth accelerated both domestically and abroad following the continued easing of Covid-19 lockdown measures. The group is no longer the licensee of Mizuno for Brazil and Argentina, a role that is now played by Vulcabras.

The quarterly gross margin expanded by 3.0 percentage points to 52.5 percent, with the margin on its international business widening by 9.5 percentage points to 68.2 percent, driven by an improvement in the country mix and by revenue growth management initiatives in the EMEA region. Ebitda improved to a positive R$175.3 million (€26.8m-$32.2m) from a negative R$1.3 million the year earlier and net income from continuing operations jumped by 73.5 percent to R$135 million (€20.7m-$24.8m).

Sales of Havaianas sandals increased by 37 percent to R$846 million (€129.4m-$155.4m), rising by 25.3 percent in Brazil to R$583.4 million (€89.2m-$107.2m). Havaianas’ sales in the rest of the world jumped by a reported 61.1 percent to R$317.9 million (€48.6m-$58.4m) but were up only by 26.5 percent in constant currencies. In Europe, constant-currency sales of Havaianas increased by 25.5 percent to R$195 million (€29.8m-$35.8m) while they grew by 12.6 percent to R$45 million (€6.9m-$8.3m) in the U.S. and surged by 736.1 percent to R$5 million (€764,060-$918,062) in China.

Alpargatas’ onlines sales rose by 2.1 times to R$101 million (€15.4m-$18.5m), accounting for about 13 percent of the Havaianas brand’s first-quarter sales and 40 percent of Osklen’s. Havaianas’ sales through online channels increased by 116 percent, reflecting a two percent rise in Brazil and a 128 percent jump in foreign markets as the brand started its international roll-out in the quarter. Online sales at Osklen’s were up by 102 percent.

As it seeks to speed up its digital transformation, Alpargatas announced the acquisition of a Brazilian digital solutions firm, Ioasys, for up to R$200.0 million (€30.6m-$36.7m) in cash and shares to be paid out over five years. The acceleration of its online sales is part of its strategy for expanding the Havaianas brand in Europe, North America and China.