PARIS (Reuters) – Sales at French luxury group Kering fell 7% in the fourth quarter, dragged lower by a slump in revenues at its biggest brand Gucci as COVID-19 disruptions in China hit its business hard.

Gucci’s revenues fell 14% on a comparable basis in the last three months of the year, compared with an analyst consensus for an 11% fall. For the whole group, analysts had forecast a slide in comparable sales of 3%.

Finance chief Jean-Marc Duplaix said Gucci’s 2022 performance “did not meet our expectations”, adding the group was confident it could turn around the brand in 2023.

Gucci parted ways with its star designer Alessandro Michele last November and in January announced the appointment of Sabato De Sarno, a relatively unknown designer at rival Valentino, as its new creative director.

(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer, editing by Silvia Aloisi)