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Benetton posts marginal rise in sales in first nine months of 2011
Nov '11
The Benetton Group Board of Directors, meeting, examined and approved the consolidated results for the first nine months of 2011.

Consolidated income statement
Group net revenues for the first nine months of 2011 reached €1,481 million, almost unchanged at currency neutral, compared with the same period of 2010 (-0.5%). This result was the outcome of extensive efforts to accelerate growth in those markets where there are promising opportunities for the Group, mainly the emerging markets, and to defend its market share in established markets, where the economic crisis and uncertain prospects had a significant influence on consumer expenditure, impacting development of the whole sector and of the Group.

In particular, the apparel division recorded revenues of €1,388 million, with a currency neutral reduction of 1.4% (€30 million) compared with the first nine months of 2010. The textile division, on the other hand, achieved an increase in revenues of 16.3 % (€93 million, compared with €80 million in the comparable period), also due to the impact of increases in raw material costs.

At geographic level, emerging markets and markets with high growth potential increased overall by 11% currency neutral, with a proportion of revenues which rose to 26% (from 24% for the first nine months of 2010), and all principal markets here were positive. We mention in particular the excellent results achieved in Mexico (+26% currency neutral), in India (+12%) and in Russia (+28%).

In established markets on the other hand, there was a 4% currency neutral reduction in revenues, with a positive performance in Germany and the UK, which offset a significant contraction in sales in Greece and, although to a much lesser extent, also in Mediterranean area countries (Portugal, Spain, France and Italy). Outside Europe, USA (-9% currency neutral) and Japan (-23%) were negative, also after rationalisation of the stores network in these markets.

Gross operating profit, of €645 million (43.5% of net revenues) was down (-€51 million) compared with €696 million (46.5%) in the comparable nine months, due to the already-reported high increases in raw material costs, cotton and wool in particular, which negatively impacted on the 2011 Fall/Winter collection despatched to stores between the end of the second quarter and the third quarter. On the other hand, the change in the euro exchange rate against the US dollar, the main reference currency for purchases, had a positive effect.

The contribution margin was €530 million (35.8% of revenues), against €583 million (38.9%) in the corresponding period of 2010, down by €53 million.

Due to systematic attention to management of costs, following programmes initiated in previous years and pursued with determination also in the current financial year, general expenses in the first nine months of 2011 were further reduced by around 3% against the comparable nine months. Non-recurring expenses were also down, due, in particular, to the conclusion of the already-reported programmes for reorganisation of the Group textile division.

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