Luxury goods producer Gucci Group NV on Tuesday announced strong retail sales growth in its three key global markets for August and reaffirmed its positive outlook for the autumn season.

The world's third biggest luxury goods group said it enjoyed double digit growth in retail sales in Japan, the US and Europe last month but said sales in Asia, excluding Japan, also increased in August but not by such a rapid rate.

"We had difficult trading during the Iraq war and because of SARS but an improvement started in may and June," said a spokesman. "The trend is for strong development."

In July, the company posted a 97 per cent plunge in first quarter net profit to 1.2 million euros from 35.5 million euros in the year-ago period as it was hit by the rising strength of the euro and the deadly SARS outbreak in Asia.