Jan 28, 2010
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Benetton 2009 net beats forecast, sees pickup in second half

Jan 28, 2010

MILAN, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Italian clothing retailer Benetton (BNG.MI) reported a more than 20 percent fall in 2009 net profit on Thursday 28 January, beating market expectations, and forecast "more energetic" demand for the second half of this year.

United Colors of Benetton

The maker of colourful sweaters said it expected to exceed initial forecasts for net profit with a preliminary figure of more than 120 million euros ($168.5 million). Analysts' average forecast for net profit was 105 million euros.

Benetton made net profit of 155 million euros in 2008.

It posted preliminary 2009 revenue down 3.6 percent at 2.05 billion euros ($2.88 billion). Revenue fell 2.8 percent at constant exchange rates.

At 1245 GMT, Benetton shares were up 3 percent to 6.18 euros.

"Early indications for 2010 suggest continued uncertainty as to when and how the economy will recover ... Therefore, Benetton expects this year's spring/summer collections to perform in line with recent trends," the company said.

"While in the second half of the year, given today's macroeconomic forecasts, demand should be more energetic in the group's main markets and could generate positive effects starting with the 2010 fall/winter collections."

Budget fashion chains such as Spanish retailer Inditex (ITX.MC) are weathering the economic downturn better than higher-priced rivals.

Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST) on Thursday 28 January stoked hopes for a recovery in 2010 with a sharp rise in December sales as it beat expectations for fourth quarter pretax profit, helped by store expansion. [nLDE60Q17Q]

(Editing by Erica Billingham)

((Milan newsroom +39 02 6612 9507, fax +39 02 801 149, [email protected]))

($1=.7122 Euro) Keywords: BENETTON/

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