Benetton’s sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter, rising just 2.9%, prompting the Italian fashion chain to warn of a tough year ahead.
For the full year 2008, Benetton’s sales rose 4% to €2.12 billion (£1.9bn). Net income was up 7% to €155 million (£137.7m). EBITDA was €353 million (£313.7m), up 5.1% and operating profit was up 4.7% to €254 million (£225.7m)..
However, Benetton predicted a tough year ahead.
Benetton chief executive Gerolamo Caccia Dominioni said: “The situation in 2009 will be difficult for everyone and this was made quite clear by trends in the fourth quarter of the year just ended. The group occupies a distinctive positioning for product quality, with affordable prices, a widespread and flexible distribution model, based on a network of first-rate sales partners, and proven financial strength.”
He added that the company would strengthen its relationships with retail partners and stockists and control costs at the business.
Benetton said the results for 2008 were in line with its objectives, despite a deteriorating international economic situation, which had the biggest impact in the final quarter.
Benetton added that improvements in the supply chain carried out over the period had helped accelerate growth in Russia, India and Turkey.
The supply chain improvements also benefited margins at the company.