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PPR sees fourth quarter sales slow

PPR, the French owner of the Gucci Group and Puma brand, saw revenues climb 5.8% and 2% on a comparable basis to €20.2 billion (£17.7bn) in 2008 but fourth quarter sales slowed.

PPR said recurring operating income was up 5.4% to €1.7bn (£1.5bn) for the year. EBITDA rose by almost 7% to €2.1bn (£1.8bn).

However the group reported slowing sales in the fourth quarter which it blamed on declining consumer demand. Comparable sales fell by 1.5% compared with the fourth quarter in 2007.

Recurring operating margin fell slightly, down 0.1% to 8.5% over the year.

PPR said that internet sales had grown by 10% to €1.9bn (£1.67bn) in 2008.

PPR chairman and chief executive François-Henri Pinault said: “PPR posted satisfactory operating and financial performances in 2008, despite deteriorating market conditions quarter after quarter. Our Group has thus demonstrated a remarkable ability to respond and adapt to sudden and profound changes in its environment. Having gauged the impact of the crisis early on, the Group’s brands and companies implemented initial action plans that started yielding results in the second half of the year.”

He added: “In 2009, we will continue to use all available means to meet the challenges of an economy that remains uncertain. PPR will capitalise on its many assets: brand strength, geographical complementarity, presence in the most promising emerging markets, web leadership, as well as financial solidity and budgetary discipline. In 2009, the Group will intensify its action plans so as to build on its competitive advantages and strengthen its business lines.”

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