Italian clothing manufacturer and retailer Benetton Group SpA has posted a 12.5% rise in first quarter profit, boosted by strong sales in the Mediterranean area, eastern Europe and India.

Net profit rose to EUR27m (US$36.6m) from EUR24m in the same period last year, while sales grew 10.6% to EUR460m from EUR416m.

The Ponzano, north east Italy-based company, said sales were driven by the apparel segment where a strong increase in volumes offset the negative impacts of exchange rate differences.

The group said it sees full year revenues rising between 6% and 8%.

In March Benetton named Warner Music executive Gerolamo Caccia Dominioni as its new chief executive, who is due to join the firm at the beginning of June. He replaces former CEO Silvan Cassano who quit four months ago citing management differences.