Italian fashion house Valentino reported on Monday an 18% rise in core profit for 2022 as sales rose 10% at constant currencies, boosted by its directly operated shops and defying a weak Chinese market.

Controlled by Qatari investment vehicle Mayhoola, Valentino reported preliminary revenue of 1.42 billion euros ($1.56 billion) last year.

Sales in shops the group manages directly, including online ones, grew twice as fast as overall revenue, while the wholesale channel posted a 6% drop.

“Geographically speaking, Europe, North America, and the Middle East lead the way, while Greater China was still shaky tied to Covid,” it said.

Core profit came in at 337 million euros, up by nearly a fifth from the previous year, while operating profit grew 30% to 121 million euros.

Valentino, led since mid-2020 by CEO Jacopo Venturini, a former Gucci executive, has been “reducing the wholesale activity to focus only on a selected partnership distribution”, it said in a statement.

Directly operated shops accounted for 62% of sales in 2022 compared to 54% in 2019.

Under Venturini, Valentino went fur-free in 2022. It also decided to focus on the main Valentino line, ending the REDValentino one, aimed more at younger customers, with the fall-winter 2023-24 season.

During the course of last year it kicked off its e-commerce internalization programme starting with Japan and expanding it to the United States and the rest of the world.

Valentino also said it had overhauled its remuneration policy to introduce for the first time a pay-for-performance structure.