PARIS -­ France’s PPR on Thursday said luxury drove 2005 net income ahead 11.2 percent and voiced “confidence” for 2006 thanks to a robust start at Gucci Group and improved retail conditions at home.

Luxury sales through the end of February grew 19 percent, with contributions from all of the group’s brands, including Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Balenciaga. “Luxury should have a very solid year,” PPR chairman and chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault told a meeting of analysts and reporters here.

Organic growth continues to be PPR’s top priority, Pinault said. But he didn’t rule out “strategic” acquisitions, and said the Redcats mail-order division would profit from the acquisition of a non-clothing operation with a solid Internet presence in the United States.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow’s WWD.

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