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Bulgari Grows Across All Product Categories

MILAN — Bulgari posted a 9 percent jump in full-year 2004 revenue as it rolled out several new products such as jewelry collection Astrale, the Ergon watch line and the Blu Notte fragrance.<BR><BR>Sales for the year rose 9 percent to 827.7...

MILAN — Bulgari posted a 9 percent jump in full-year 2004 revenue as it rolled out several new products such as jewelry collection Astrale, the Ergon watch line and the Blu Notte fragrance.

Sales for the year rose 9 percent to 827.7 million euros, or $1.03 billion at average exchange, from 759.3 million euros, or $858 million, a year earlier, but Bulgari said it would have grown 12.1 percent at constant exchange rates. Profit figures are due in March.

Bulgari chief executive officer Francesco Trapani said he was pleased that sales grew in every product category and geographic market for the 12-month period.

“We grew 12 percent in sales and I think our profits will grow by a few more percentage points than that,” Trapani said in a phone interview.

The ceo said he’s also optimistic for this year, forecasting another 10 to 12 percent jump in sales for 2005 at constant currency rates, with profit growth at a “slightly higher” rate.

Stripping out results for just the fourth quarter, Bulgari’s sales rose 10.5 percent to 273.3 million euros, or $354.5 million, on a “good sales trend” for the holiday season. Revenue grew in every category except watches, which Trapani attributed to Bulgari’s decision to close some unsatisfactory wholesale accounts. He declined to say how many accounts Bulgari shuttered.

Fourth-quarter revenue from jewelry grew 10.1 percent to 109.2 million euros, or $141.7 million, while that from fragrances advanced 30.8 percent to 58.7 million euros, or $76.1 million.

Sales of accessories grew 24.8 percent to 19.9 million euros, or $25.8 million.

Watches were the weak point for the quarter, as sales of timepieces slid 1.8 percent to 81.7 million euros, or $106 million. Also, royalty income shed 6.4 percent to 3.8 million euros, or $4.9 million.

On a geographic basis, fourth-quarter sales in Italy grew 10.5 percent to 38.4 million euros, or $49.8 million, while those in the rest of Europe increased 6.6 percent to 59 million euros, or $76.5 million. Still, Trapani warned not to interpret those figures as a sign that those sluggish markets are rebounding. Instead, he said Bulgari’s push with new products; store openings in cities such as Berlin, Barcelona and London, and special communications initiatives lifted Bulgari’s numbers in those markets.

Fourth-quarter sales from the Americas advanced 12.6 percent to 44.7 million euros, or $57.9 million. Revenue from Japan increased 25 percent to 70.9 million euros, or $92 million, while that from the rest of Asia inched up 0.2 percent to 46.8 million euros, or $60.7 million. Sales from the Middle East and other countries fell 4 percent to 13.5 million euros, or $17.5 million.