PARIS - PPR, the French conglomerate controlled by billionaire Francois Pinault, said strength at Gucci Group and the acquisition of Puma combined to propel third-quarter sales ahead 21.9 percent.Sales in the three months through September reached 5.19 billion euros, or $7.13 billion, from 4.26 billion euros, or $5.43 billion, a year ago, inflated by revenue generated from Puma, in which PPR bought a 62.9 percent stake for 3.33 billion euros, or $4.57 billion. Currency conversions were made at average exchange rates for the respective periods.
On a comparable basis, group sales advanced 6.8 percent, led by 10.5 percent growth at luxury division brands, which include Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent. The Gucci brand reported sales gained 10.8 percent thanks to double-digit growth in sales of ready-to-wear and footwear. Leather goods sales advanced 8.8 percent. Bottega Veneta sales jumped 48 percent in the quarter, while money-losing Yves Saint Laurent saw revenues grow 20 percent.PPR's retail division was headlined by a 6.2 percent improvement at the FNAC music and book chain and a 2.1 percent gain at the Conforama furniture banner. Sales at cataloguer Redcats slipped 0.8 percent, while sales at the CFAO African trading business grew 11.7 percent thanks to expanding regional economies.
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