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Benetton redesigns European flagships

Italian fashion group Benetton has begun the overhaul of its London flagship in Oxford Circus as part of wider plans to revamp its stores around Europe.

Benetton, which this week said net first-half profits at the group rose from €29m (£24m) to €40m (£33m), has closed its store on the corner of London’s Oxford Circus and Regent Street to complete the refurbishment work.

It will reopen on August 19 with a redesign featuring more natural light and cleaner lines and the retailer will reflect the history of London in the new-look store situated at 255-259 Regent Street. Benetton wants to revamp its stores in major European cities, including Frankfurt, Milan and Paris, and each will be overhauled to incorporate a local feel.

In the first half to June 30, sales at the group, which also comprises the Sisley young fashion brand, were up 1% to €891m (£737m), but down 0.6% when currency fluctuations were taken into account.

The group benefited from positive currency movements, cost cutting and stronger sales in emerging markets including Mexico and India.

But Benetton remained cautious about the company’s prospects for the full year and said it expected a slight reduction in operating margins, due to significant non-recurring costs, the greater cost of borrowing and tax rises.

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