Benetton profits were hit by over 60% after the Italian group rescheduled its autumn deliveries.
Benetton said that the rescheduling of £74.6m (€88m) of stock also impacted its revenues which were down 3 per cent. The retailer moved the deliveries to its third quarter to better “match seasonality”, it said.
First-half gross operating profits fell to £340m (€401m), down from £392m (€462m) in the same period last year. Apparel sales across the group were £99m (€117m), down from £704m (€831m) last year.
Benetton group chief executive Gerolamo Caccia Dominioni said: “The decision to reschedule deliveries of the 2009 Fall/Winter collection only, was taken in this specific market situation to optimise synchronisation of demand for the products with the actual presence of the new collection garments in the stores.”
He added that the temporarily deferred sales will be recovered in the third quarter of the year, with a reduction of around 3% versus 2008 in the cumulative results for the nine months.
He said: “The combination of the good level of orders taken for the new Fall/Winter collection and actions currently in progress on the cost front thus allow reasonable optimism for the end of 2009 in respect of sales, profit and net indebtedness.”