PARIS – PPR said sales improved “significantly” in the fourth quarter of 2009, with revenues down just 3.2 percent compared with the same period a year earlier thanks to improving sales within its Gucci Group luxury division.

Group share of net income for full-year 2009 fell 0.8 percent to 712.4 million euros, or $993.5 million, from 718.0 million euros, or $1.05 billion, in 2008. Dollar figures are converted from average exchange rates for the period.

“The group met its profitability objectives,” PPR chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault stated. “With an economic environment still in recovery mode, we must remain vigilant; however, we have started this new year with determination and confidence.”

Group sales were down 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter to 4.72 billion euros, or $6.95 billion, from 4.88 billion euros, or $6.58 billion, in the same period a year earlier. The Gucci Group division garnered revenues of 929.2 million euros, or $1.36 billion, down 0.3 percent from 931.7 million, or $1.25 billion, in the year-ago quarter.

For 2009 as a whole, the group clocked revenues from continuing operations of 16.52 billion euros, or $23.04 billion, down 4.0 percent year-on-year.

For complete coverage, see Friday’s WWD.