PARIS Despite a “challenging quarter” for Gucci, France’s PPR on Thursday said first-quarter sales rose 20 percent thanks to the addition of Puma and robust sales at Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta.

Gucci’s sales in the quarter advanced 2.4 percent at constant exchange rates as sales sputtered in more mature markets, like the United States and Europe.  After the impact of negative currency exchange, Gucci’s sales dipped 3.3 percent to 513 million euros, or $769.5 million at average exchange.

“Action plans have already been implemented to enable the brand to regain a growth rate consistent with group objectives,” PPR said.

Overall, PPR said sales in the three months through March reached 4.91 billion euros, or $7.37 billion, slightly edging most analysts’ estimations.

Sales grew 4 percent after the impact of currency exchange, reflecting the impact the high value of the euro against the dollar and yen is having on European luxury firms.

PPR’s overall luxury sales improved 9.6 percent at constant exchange – 4 percent after currency exchange – to 816 million euros, or $1.22 billion, led by rapid growth in Asia, excluding Japan, and China, where sales bounded 116 percent.

PPR’s stock was down over 1.4 percent to 83.20 euros, or $130.58, in mid-morning trading on the Paris Bourse.

For more, see Friday’s issue of WWD.

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