Tight control over costs has helped Gerry Weber to double-digit first quarter sales and earnings growth, and prompted the German fashion group to step up its retail expansion.

But the company also lowered its sales forecast for the full year as orders of its autumn/winter lines show signs of slowing.
For the first quarter, net income rose 30.8% to EUR7.4m (US$9.7m) from EUR5.7m last time.

Group sales rose 12.2% to EUR136.6m from EUR121.8m a year earlier.

Brand sales were up an even stronger 22.5% to EUR97.7m, driven by a 29.5% surge in demand for the core Gerry Weber brand.

The company's own retail sales at its 112 Houses of Gerry Weber stores jumped 21.2% to EUR32.9m, and online sales of the Group's three brands were up 16.9%.

However, while autumn/winter wholesale orders are up 3% to EUR195.8m, the company lowered its sales projections for the full year to EUR600m from EUR640m. This is 6% higher than the prior year's sales.

The Gerry Weber Group also said it intends to continue its expansion, taking advantage of falling  rents and more interesting properties becoming available during the recession.

It is also taking "a very close look at every order we receive," according to CEO Gerhard Weber, who adds: "[We] prefer to discontinue relations with customers that are adversely affected by the economic crisis."