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Jeweller Damiani sees signs of recovery, first half net jumps

By
Reuters
Published
today Nov 21, 2009
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Damiani

MILAN, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Italian jeweller Damiani (DMN.MI) has seen the first signs of recovery in demand and is confident looking ahead to the Christmas period, its chief executive said in a statement as the group reported a jump in interim profits.

The company, which promotes its jewellery with movie stars such as Brad Pitt and Sharon Stone, said on Saturday 21 November net profit for its first half ending Sept. 30 was 9.6 million euros ($14.26 million), up from 1.8 million a year ago.

Consolidated revenues, including wholesale, were down 15.8 percent at constant exchange rates to 56.3 million euros as retail sales jumped 115.6 percent to 14.7 million euros, helped by consolidation of Rocca stores.

Wholesale revenues were down 30.9 percent to 41.4 million euros.

"Despite the continuing uncertain macroeconomic environment, I am satisfied with the actions ... to reinforce our prescence in markets, segments and channels which are important for our future development," Guido Damiani, chairman and chief executive, said in the statement.

"All the above together with a constant attention to further rationalise our production costs and the first signals of recovery in demand registered in October, make me confident for the coming Christmas season," he added.

Luxury goods companies have not been immune to falling consumer demand as credit dries up from lenders hurt by the past year's global financial turmoil.

Signs of a tentative recovery in the global economy are gathering. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said last week there was "a progressive and gradual revival of the economy," a more favourable scenario than was projected some months ago.

Damiani, which swung to a net loss of 3 million euros in its first quarter, sells the bulk of its products in Italy. Its second-largest market is Japan followed by the United States.

Sales in the U.S. fell 46 percent in the first half to 2.46 billion euros while revenues in Japan slid 40 percent to 3.31 billion euros.

Guido Damiani told Reuters in September he expected Christmas would be better this year than in 2008.

Damiani is one of Italy's largest jewellers and is bigger than France's privately-held Mauboussin. But it trails market leaders Bulgari (BULG.MI), Cartier (CFR.VX), Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany's (TIF.N). (Reporting by Jo Winterbottom; editing by James Jukwey)

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