Clothing and retail group Benetton reported a 15 per cent drop in net profits after adjusting for extraordinary items in the first half and forecast steady earnings on the same basis for the year as a whole.

Benetton posted net income of 54 million euros in the first half, sliding 69 per cent from 173 million in the same period of last year. But adjusted net profits, stripping out the impact of extraordinary gains in the first half of 2000, fell to 66 million euros from 77 million euros, a statement said.

Sales rose 6.4 per cent to 1.044 billion euros while operating profits shed 15 per cent to 140 million euros.

Benetton said it targeted an increase in sales for the full year and net profit in line with the adjusted figure for 2000.

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