Jan 29, 2009
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Bulgari revs down, business "very difficult"

Jan 29, 2009

MILAN, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Italian jeweller Bulgari (BULG.MI) said fourth-quarter revenues fell 9.8 percent and business would remain very difficult for most of the year as the global economic downturn slashes luxury goods sales.

The company said on Thursday it expected a greater percentage fall in full-year 2008 profits than the 22 percent drop for the first nine months to 77.2 million euros. Operating profit in the same period fell 26.7 percent to 80.1 million euros.

"We expect that this difficult environment will persist for most of 2009 and then we expect that our business will remain very difficult for most of the year," Chief Executive Francesco Trapani said in a video message.

Fourth-quarter revenues were 312.6 million euros ($408.9 million), down 15.5 percent at comparable exchange rates, while 2008 revenues fell 1.5 percent to 1.075 billion euros or down 0.9 percent at comparable exchange rates.

Trapani said that unlike some competitors, Bulgari had not reduced selling prices. For the quarter, sales for jewellery and watches fell. They rose for accessories and perfumes.

Richemont (CFR.VX), the Swiss maker of Montblanc pens and Cartier watches, said last week it saw no signs of a recovery and planned to cut spending after third-quarter sales missed forecasts.

Earlier this month, U.S. jeweller Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) cut its profit forecast after sales over the holiday season fell 21 percent.

Bulgari shares closed dowm 6.47 percent at 3.287 euros before the statement came out.

($1=.7645 Euro)

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