PARIS — Saying it “does not expect any improvement in the economic situation in 2002,” Pinault Printemps Redoute Thursday issued a surprise profit warning and cautioned investors to brace for more trouble.

The news sent PPR shares down 9 percent on the Paris Bourse, where they closed at $112.88. Dollar figures are converted from the euro.

PPR, which controls Gucci Group, slashed its full-year profit growth expectations to 4 percent from a bullish 15 percent increase projected last year.

It blamed a weak fourth quarter in North American markets, where sales in the three-month period.

Gucci Group’s North American sales fell 31 percent due to the decline in travel, retail and luxury business. The $70 million PPR spent revamping Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci’s other recent luxury acquisitions also weighed on the bottom line, it said.

PPR’s activities range from Gucci to the Printemps department stores and FNAC music, book and multimedia retailing.

Controlled by French tycoon Francois Pinault, PPR cited an aggressive cost-cutting campaign, launched in early 2001, as helping stave off further profit erosion.