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Sales grow marginally at retail chain Bijou Brigitte
Nov '08
In the first three quarters of 2008 Bijou Brigitte increased group sales by 3.1 % to EUR 269.6 million (prior year: EUR 261.5 million). The like-for-like sales were 4.0 % less than in the prior year, a slight improvement compared to the first half. Whereas Spain, the second strongest market, was seriously burdened by the real estate and consumption crises, Germany attained a light plus like-for-like in the third quarter.

Extrapolated to 30 September 2008, Bijou Brigitte earned a pre-tax group result of EUR 78.9 million, 7.6 % resp. EUR 6.5 million lower than the prior year (EUR 85.4 million). The group after-tax profit was EUR 54.5 million (prior year: EUR 56.6 million). This means a decline of 3.7 % resp. EUR 2.1 million compared to the prior year. The Bijou Brigitte group
results have been prepared on the basis of estimated material consumption without verification of inventories.

Bijou Brigitte expanded the store network by 58 new shops in the first three quarters of 2008. 13 stores have been closed. Thus the number of Bijou Brigitte stores increased to 1,050 locations in Germany and abroad. A total of 40 stores were remodelled during the reporting period. Three shops were repositioned within the shopping centres to more favourable locations.

The focus of store expansion in the first three quarters was above all in Germany, Spain and Italy. In its home market, Germany, Bijou Brigitte operated 375 costume jewellery shops as of 30 September 2008. 64 % of Bijou Brigitte stores were located abroad.

The newly developed Bijou Brigitte displays stands in department stores, so-called BB Concessions locations, have been expanded after successful testing in the first half to 90 units in the third quarter. In the second half of September business was expanded to Sweden and Finland. The first test stores were opened at shopping centres in the capital cities, Stockholm and Helsinki.

The investment volume of Bijou Brigitte group declined slightly in the first three quarters of 2008 compared to the prior year. This was due to the lower number of shop openings compared to the prior year. Investment primarily includes the costs of shop expansion and renovation. Furthermore, expense was incurred to develop and expand the BB Concessions spaces.

Cash flow from ongoing operations covered the company's investment and financing requirements. Liquidity as of 30 September 2008 exceeded that of the prior year, underlining the company's financial strength. Based on the authorisation resolution adopted by the annual general meeting on 16 July 2008, Bijou Brigitte started the second share buyback programme for the purchase of EUR 10 million of its own shares on 2 September 2008.

The first programme ended on 5 August 2008 after a repurchase volume of nearly EUR 10 million was reached. As of the cut-off date for the interim report, Bijou Brigitte holds a total of 147,290 of its own shares.

Bijou Brigitte

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