MILAN — A strong Christmas showing lifted Bulgari’s fourth-quarter revenue by 12.8 percent but did little to boost its full-year sales.

Preliminary revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 12.8 percent to $275.9 million from $244.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Full-year sales rose by 0.9 percent to $837.7 million from $829.9 million the year before.

"I think the fourth-quarter results of 2002 demonstrate how, despite a climate of geopolitical uncertainty and very adverse economic market conditions, the Bulgari brand has once again reaffirmed its vitality and ability to grow," said chief executive officer Francesco Trapani.

Bulgari noted that on a constant currency basis, fourth-quarter sales would have risen 17 percent, while full-year 2002 sales would have put on 3 percent.

In the fourth quarter, sales in Italy rose 15.4 percent to $38.8 million. Sales in other European markets didn’t fare as well, however, dropping 5.2 percent to $61.4 million on reduced tourist traffic and a sluggish German economy.

The expansion of Bulgari’s Ginza store pushed fourth-quarter sales in Japan up 26.9 percent to $65.8 million. Bulgari noted a strong rebound for sales in the Americas, which put on 20.7 percent to $41.1 million. Sales in Asia, excluding Japan, grew 11.9 percent to $47.2 million, while those in the Mideast and the rest of the world advanced by 18.8 percent to $21.6 million.

Bulgari saw a fourth-quarter recovery for watches, a product category that had negatively influenced its financial results for some time. Watch sales rose 27.9 percent to $106.8 million. Jewelry sales expanded 8.7 percent to $107 million. Revenue from accessories rose 12.6 percent to $15 million. Fragrances saw sales drop by 0.4 percent to $43.4 million on slower business in the Americas and Europe excluding Italy, as well as a strong comparison base in the year-earlier period.

Elsewhere, leather goods group Tod’s posted a 12.5 percent jump in its preliminary 2002 revenue to $388.1 million from $345.1 million on strong sales in Italy, its biggest market. The company did not break down fourth-quarter earnings.

The shoes and leather goods house said sales were in line with expectations, as it forecast a double-digit jump in profitability. Sales in Italy, which account for 47.2 percent of total revenue, rose 12.1 percent to $183.3 million.Tod’s revenue in the rest of Europe grew 16.6 percent to $115.9 million, while North America rose 2.7 percent to $64.1 million. Revenue in Asia and the rest of the world increased by 25.5 percent to $24.7 million.

Tod’s accounted for 59.5 percent of sales as revenues rose 8.5 percent to $230.9 million. Hogan saw sales rise 11.4 percent to $98.2 million, while apparel brand Fay saw its revenue climb 28.6 percent to $56.5 million.

Also on Thursday, IT Holding, which owns Gianfranco Ferré, said that its 2002 consolidated sales rose 24.5 percent to $710.7 million. IT Holding produces several lines through licensing deals including?D&G, Versus, Versace Jeans Couture, Versace Jeans Signature and Just Cavalli. The company said its 2002 sales would have risen by 28.5 percent, excluding the negative impact of currency fluctuations and a reorganization of its manufacturing facilities. Full results are due March 27.

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