PPR SALES RISE IN HALF
Byline: Robert Murphy
PARIS — Spurred by growth in its retail and luxury-goods divisions, diversified French retailer Pinault-Printemps-Redoute on Wednesday said first-half sales climbed 19.6 percent, to $11.6 billion, compared with $9.7 billion in the same period last year. Excluding exchange rate variations and acquisitions, sales increased 4.7 percent, the company said in a statement. French companies disclose earnings and sales separately. Analysts said the increase exceeded their expectations and indicated that PPR was weathering an increasingly tough economic climate.
“PPR’s performance is reassuring,” said Eric Tibi, retail analyst at UBS Warburg here. “I was expecting less of a sales increase considering the bearish economy.”
PPR stock finished trading Wednesday on the Paris Bourse up 0.84 percent, to $144.14. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates.
Serge Weinberg, PPR chairman, said the strong first half would enable the group to meet its full-year growth targets of a 15 percent sales increase as well as a double-digit expansion of net income.
“In light of the economic slowdown, this represents an outstanding performance,” said Weinberg in the statement. “Our strong topline growth, achieved despite macroeconomic conditions currently deteriorating, testifies to the group’s high level of resistance.”
PPR’s retail sales increased 13.7 percent, to $4.73 billion, versus $4.16 billion last year. Sales at its Printemps department-store chain, which includes PPR’s 19 Printemps units as well as its recently opened Citadium sports store here, increased 9.5 percent, to $359 million. Sales at PPR’s concept boutiques — the Orcanta lingerie chain, up 42 percent, and the Made in Sport athletic stores, up 93.5 percent — rocketed 53.1 percent.
Sales at the Redcats mail-order division grew at a more modest 2.8 percent. PPR cited a strong dollar and the cooling of the U.S. economy as reducing overall mail-order business. Sales at Brylane, its American-based catalog business, slipped 2.7 percent.
Meanwhile, sales at Gucci Group, in which PPR holds a 42 percent stake, increased 35.2 percent, to $1.1 billion. That figure corresponds to figures Gucci reported for the half-year ended in April 2001. They include sales at Yves Saint Laurent, YSL Beaute, Bottega Veneta, shoemaker Sergio Rossi and Boucheron.