PARIS — France’s Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, whose businesses include an African trading company and the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion brands, on Tuesday reported a 4.8 percent gain in third-quarter sales, lifted by momentum in the global luxury trade.

For the three months through September, PPR said sales climbed to 5.63 billion euros, or $6.88 billion, from 5.37 billion euros, or $6.05 billion, a year ago, slightly ahead of analysts’ consensus expectations.

Gucci Group’s sales for the three months through July climbed 9.8 percent to 641 million euros, or $772.5 million, as reported last month. Euros have been converted to dollars at the average exchange rate.

During a conference call on Tuesday, PPR chief executive Serge Weinberg said Gucci’s sales increased by double digits in August and September at comparable exchange rates.

“The recent collections have been well received by the media and buyers,” he said. “Orders for all of the major brands are above last year’s levels.”

He added that orders for YSL’s new fragrance, Cinema, have been encouraging.

Weinberg painted a bright picture for PPR’s luxury activities and lauded a “smooth transition” after the departure last spring of designer Tom Ford and Gucci Group ceo Domenico De Sole.

A set of Ford’s underlings have since taken over design duties at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and a former Unilever frozen-foods honcho, Robert Polet, has filled De Sole’s shoes.

“If you look back at all of the changes, we are standing firm,” said Weinberg.

He declined to comment on a report Tuesday in WWD that Giacomo Santucci, the Gucci brand ceo, plans to leave. If he does, Santucci, who joined Gucci in January 2001, would be the latest in a string of high-profile defections at the group since Ford and De Sole left.

Sales at PPR’s retail division, including the Printemps department stores and the Conforama furniture and FNAC music and book chains, rose 4.3 percent to 3.3 billion euros, or $4.03 billion.

Weinberg said sales had gained 2.6 percent at the Printemps chain, including a 5 percent increase at the Boulevard Haussmann flagship here, boosted by strong tourist trade.

This story first appeared in the October 20, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Mail-order sales at the Redcats catalogue division were flat at 974.8 million euros, or $1.19 billion.

In the United States, excluding the soon-to-be-discontinued Sears catalogue, Redcats’ sales gained 1.3 percent; sales in France rose 1.6 percent.

The CFAO African trading company’s sales gained 7.7 percent to 461.6 million euros, or $564.3 million, and at Rexel, the electronic components supplier, sales gained 4.3 percent to 1.69 billion euros, or $2.07 billion.

PPR, which has shed most of its noncore businesses to concentrate on retail and luxury, reiterated plans to sell Rexel by the end of the year.

PPR stock lost 1.7 percent to close at 73.40 euros, or $91.88 at the current exchange rate, in trading on the Paris Bourse on worries of sluggish consumer spending in France moving into the important holiday selling season.

Last week, French retail bellwether Carrefour downgraded its full-year profits and revenue projections, blaming a slowdown in spending in France.