Byline: Robert Murphy

PARIS — Saying it was weathering the economic slowdown, Pinault Printemps Redoute Tuesday said its third-quarter revenues rose 13.1 percent, to $5.8 billion.
Sales through the first nine months increased a more robust 17.4 percent to $17.8 billion at the diversified retailer controlled by the French tycoon, Francois Pinault.
Analysts said the sales, boosted by the consolidation of Emmezeta, the Italian home furnishings chain acquired by PPR last year, were on par with expectations. PPR shares finished trading on the Paris Bourse up 3.5 percent to $118. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange. Like other French firms, PPR customarily reports earnings only after the second and final quarters of the year but posts revenues on a quarterly basis.
Excluding acquisitions, sales increased 2.1 percent in the third quarter and 3.9 percent for the nine-month period ending in September.
“Third-quarter sales in Europe and North America demonstrate, overall, the outstanding ability of our companies to withstand tough business conditions,” said PPR chairman Serge Weinberg in a statement.
Weinberg said that since a decline in sales in the days directly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, most of the group’s activities have returned “to their previous trends, marked by the economic downturn in most markets, and in particular in the luxury goods industry. “However,” added Weinberg, “taking into account the uncertainties and their possible adverse impact on the behavior of our customers, business and consumers alike, there is limited visibility in the very short term. Nevertheless, the group took important adjustment measures as early as last spring, which should help our companies to withstand better than other companies in this evolution.” These include a massive cost-cutting campaign that began this spring.
Sales at the Printemps retail division increased 7.4 percent in the quarter, including a 5.5 percent increase at the Printemps department stores and a 3.3 percent increase at the Citadium sporting goods and apparel store.
Sales at specialty boutiques increased 50.6 percent. This included 38.5 percent growth at Orcanta, the lingerie retailer, which has opened 13 new stores this year.
At PPR’s luxury goods division, or Gucci Group, sales from November 2000 to July 2001 increased 26.1 percent to $1.7 billion. That figure includes revenue generated by Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and shoemaker Sergio Rossi.