BULGARI NET IN HALF SOARS 206.8 PERCENT

MILAN -- Helped by extension of its product lines, Bulgari's net income in the first half rose 206.8 percent to $12 million (18.1 billion lire) from 5.9 billion lire, due chiefly to vigorous sales of watches and fragrances.
The luxury jeweler said in a statement that consolidated net sales rose 20.7 percent to $123.2 million (186.5 billion lire) from 154.5 billion lire. Operating profits increased 74.6 percent to $13.1 million (19.9 billion lire) from 11.4 billion lire, despite amortization of costs from Bulgari's stock market listing last year.
The company said watch sales accounted for the greatest share of turnover -- 44 percent-- and that fragrance sales were healthier than ever. They accounted for 13 percent of turnover. Last week, the company launched its fourth fragrance, Extreme.
Jewelry generated 40 percent of turnover. Sales in that category were reinforced by the introduction last spring of Trika, a line of diamond pave baubles. Royalties accounted for the remaining 3 percent of revenues.
"We are extremely satisfied with the positive results achieved in this first half of the year; they give us reason to expect a good closure at the end of the year," said Francesco Trapani, chief executive officer of the Bulgari Group.
"The results can be attributed primarily to the extension of the product lines and the expansion of the distribution network. "Watches were a top contributor to the increase in sales," he said.
Bulgari has big plans on tap for further growth. As reported, early this month the company signed a letter of intent with Luxottica for manufacture and distribution of a line of high-end eyewear. It will be Bulgari's first license.
In November, Bulgari plans to launch a collection of silk scarves, and by the end of next year, it will launch a line of leather handbags and small leather goods.
"The strategic decision to enter the accessories market reflects our desire to further diversify our product portfolio and, at the same time, sustain Bulgari's growth in the long run," Trapani said in an interview early this month. "The prestige of the Bulgari trademark and our company's know-how...will permit us to develop in all areas of the luxury goods business."

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