Clothing group Benetton has warned that slowing demand and ongoing problems at its sporting goods unit mean its full year sales are likely to fall by between 3.5 per cent and 4 per cent. Profits will also drop by around 5 per cent the company said.

The company is in the process of trying to sell its Sportsystem division, which makes Rollerblade skates, Nordica skis and Prince tennis rackets.

In its third quarter, Benetton's net profit fell 23 per cent to 24 million euros and sales fell 3.1 per cent to 460 million euros. Nine-month net profit fell 1.9 per cent to 83.7 million euros and sales were down 3.7 per cent to 1.46 billion euros.