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Improvement in net financial position in 2010, Benetton
Feb '11
The Benetton Group Board of Directors met to review key preliminary data for 2010. Complete and final results will be examined and approved by the Board at its meeting on March 15.

All comparisons of revenue with 2009 are currency neutral, unless otherwise indicated.

Revenue performance
Preliminary revenues for 2010 reached €2,053 million, compared with €2,049 million in 2009, (+0.2% at current rates, -1.9% currency neutral); this result reflects the difficult economic situation in the year just ended in some of the Group's most important reference markets, and the commitment to development in areas with the greatest growth opportunities. During the year, the strength of Group brands was confirmed, accompanied by continued support of the numerous partners with whom Benetton has worked for many years. The support received from these partners made it possible to achieve a result in line with expectations, in spite of the difficult conditions in many countries, especially in the first part of 2010.

More specifically, the Textile segment increased sales by €3 million compared with the previous year, reaching €105 million (+2.7% at current rates), while Apparel was at €1,948 million, the same as in 2009, corresponding to a currency neutral reduction of 2.1%.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, total sales were €555 million, down by €3 million (-0.6%) compared with the corresponding period of 2009.

During the fourth quarter of 2010, and in the total for the year, direct sales on a like-for-like basis continued a trend in line with the preceding nine months, with a slowdown, however, in the last part of the year, after a good start to the Fall/Winter season.

Examining revenue performance by geographical area, Europe showed a reduction of 3.3%. Challenging conditions experienced in Greece, and to a lesser extent also in Spain and Italy, contrasted with the satisfying progress achieved in Russia, which registered double-digit growth, and many of its bordering countries, as well as the good support generated by the central European area.

There was growth in all other geographical areas: Americas +5.3%, Asia +3.8%, Rest of the World +4.0%, with differing levels of performance in countries of major interest to the Group, as shown in more detail below.

In the Americas, there was strong growth in Mexico (+32.5%) and overall in South American countries, while in the USA there was a modest contraction (-1.0%), associated with the restructuring of the sales network, although on a like-for-like basis the result was up on 2009.

In Asia, there was double-digit growth in India (+12.4%), in the context of a challenging transfer of stores from direct to third-party operation, and Taiwan (+15.2%); significant progress was also made in Korea and Turkey. The Chinese area achieved significant growth on a like-for-like basis, while it was negative in terms of absolute value, due to the policy to refocus the direct network, implemented in 2009 and concluded in 2010, in the People's Republic and Hong Kong.

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