• Q1 profit up 11% to EUR20m (US$25.4m)
  • Revenues rose 1.8% to EUR457m
  • Concerned by "signs of instability" in Europe

Italian apparel company Benetton today (12 May) said it intends to offset "instability" in its main European markets by expanding in India.

The plans were revealed as the firm reported an 11% rise in first quarter profit to EUR20m (US$25.4m), up from EUR18m in the same period last year.

It said revenues were up 1.8% to EUR457m, helped by higher sales in its own stores and favourable exchange rates.

Drilling down though, a 19% (currency neutral) rise in sales in emerging markets like China, Russia and Mexico, and a "better performance" in continental Europe, more than offset a drop of 1.5% in Spain and Greece.

But Benetton said it remains concerned by "signs of instability...in the markets of greatest relevance to the Group, particularly in Europe."

In India, where it already has a presence in all the major cities, the company now aims to open new stores also in second and third tier cities.

Efficiencies in production and the supply chain helped lift gross operating profit for the quarter by 5.4% to EUR216m or 47.1% of revenues, up from EUR205m or 45.5% in the comparative period.

While savings through a group-wide reorganisation boosted operating profit to EUR35m or 7.7% of revenues, up from EUR25m or 5.5% of revenues a year ago.

Benetton said its spring/summer orders are slightly down on last year but in line with expectations, with best sellers including its children's line.