TREVISO, Italy — Paring costs and prices helped Benetton SpA push profits up 4.7 percent in 1995 on a sales increase of 5.4 percent. Consolidated net profit for the year came to $139.4 million (220 billion lire) at current exchange, and sales were $1.86 billion (2.94 trillion lire).
A year earlier, the firm earned 210 billion lire on sales of 2.79 trillion lire.
The sportswear manufacturer-retailer said last year’s improvement was the result of its three-year investment and renewal strategy, during which the company sliced prices, invested in new technology and production systems and worked to cut costs.
Benetton also said operating profit rose 14.2 percent last year to $281.4 million (444 billion lire) from 388 billion lire, while net debt was slashed more than 50 percent to 140 billion lire ($88.7 million) by the end of last year from 303 billion lire at the end of 1994.
The firm’s sales in North and South America combined in 1995 were about even with 1994, according to a Benetton spokeswoman, while in the U.S., the company showed an operating loss due to restructuring costs of its perfume and cosmetic operations. The spokeswoman said Benetton’s apparel sales in the U.S. were flat but said she didn’t have specific figures available.
Worldwide sales of Benetton’s 012 children’s line last year rose 15 percent, making it the fastest growing of the Benetton brands for the second consecutive year, the firm noted. The company added that overall sales of its apparel in Europe and the Far East rose 7.6 percent.

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