Fashion retailer Benetton Group SpA has posted a 14 per cent rise in 2004 profit to €123 million compared to profit of €108m in 2003, on a lower tax rate and less one-off charges.

2004 revenue fell 9.3 per cent to €1.69 billion from €1.86bn in 2003, affected by the sale of the Sportsystem unit in 2003 as well as negative currency trends.

Sales within Benetton's main casual clothing unit fell 5.3 per cent to €1.5bn from €1.58bn in 2003 on lower prices.

The company said that both profit margins and revenue are predicted to fall  in 2005, due to an expected weak economy and cautious consumers.

Benetton sells its brands, which include United Colors of Benetton, Sisley, Playlife and Nordica throughout 120 countries .