PPR DIVERSITY BOOSTS QUARTER SALES

PARIS — Citing strength across its diverse retail divisions and expanding luxury stable, Pinault-Printemps-Redoute said first-quarter sales leaped 23 percent, to $6.1 billion.
Excluding acquisitions and the impact of currency fluctuations, group sales advanced 5.8 percent.
(Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange.)
The French group cited strength in its core markets of France and Europe, but declines in the U.S. hurt its Redcats mail-order division, with sales slipping 1 percent, to $1 billion on a comparable basis. Last year, France accounted for 47.5 percent of group sales; Europe, 22.5 percent; the U.S., 20.5 percent; Africa, 4 percent; Asia, 3 percent; and the rest of the world, 2.5 percent.
Acquisitions made in 2000 contributed $728.3 million to the quarter’s revenues. These included Yves Saint Laurent, YSL Beaute and Boucheron in the luxury division and others in PPR’s wood, electronics and business-to-business areas. Meanwhile, currency fluctuations had a positive impact of $78.6 million in the quarter.
Overall, sales in the retail division grew 6.3 percent on a comparable basis, boosted by store openings in France and other European countries. Sales at Printemps department stores were up 11.2 percent across the 18-unit chain, with sales at the Boulevard Haussmann flagship up 8.1 percent. PPR noted that its new sporting goods concept, Citadium, adjacent to the Printemps flagship, also contributed to a strong quarter.
Fnac stores, which sell electronics, saw sales grow 13.1 percent on a comparable basis, with sales of computers slowing in many international markets and gaining 7.9 percent in France. Internet sales totaled $76 million, 2.7 times higher than a year ago.
Sales in the luxury division correspond to fourth-quarter results for Gucci Group, which were announced last month. As reported, Gucci Group revenues were $615.9 million, a 54.3 percent leap over last year.
Confident that consumer spending in France will remain strong while it expands its retail concepts elsewhere, PPR has forecast annual sales growth of 15 to 20 percent over the next five years. PPR reported its highest revenue growth in two decades when, in January, it said 2000 sales rose 26.8 percent, to $23.2 billion. Profits for the year were $705.6 million, up 22 percent.
Shares in PPR slipped 1 percent on Tuesday to close at $172.71 on the Paris Bourse.

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