GALERIES LAFAYETTE PROFITS UP 16.2%

PARIS — Groupe Galeries Lafayette said Friday first-half net profit grew 16.2 percent to $68.2 million.
Sales moved up 5.2 percent to $2.7 billion in the half. (Dollar figures are converted from French francs at current exchange.)
Sales at the Galeries Lafayette flagship here gained 13 percent, said co-chairman Philippe Houze at a press conference.
“So far, the [Boulevard] Haussmann renovation project is proving a success,” said Houze in reference to the store’s $60 million revamp, which will be completed in 2002. This summer, the store inaugurated its new second-floor designer space, including shops for Chloe, Prada Sport, Comme des Garcons and Ann Demeulemeester.
Sales at the firm’s approximately 60 Galeries Lafayette units outside of Paris were up 5 percent.
Meanwhile, Philippe Lemoine, the group’s other co-chairman, touted the firm’s Internet initiatives as an “integral part of future growth.”
He said Galeries Lafayette would launch a beauty portal early next year in conjunction with other European distributors. He didn’t provide details.
Apart from its department stores, the group’s other activities include the Monoprix and Prisunic grocery stores, BHV home units and Laser, its Internet development operation.

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