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French luxury group PPR posts moderate sales growth


French high-end retailer PPR, which changes its name to Kering in June, said sales expanded by 1 percent in the first quarter, less than expected by analysts.

Sales in the January to March period rose to 2.36 billion euros, a 3.1 percent rise in like-to-like sales, the company said. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 5.1 percent gain.

PPR said it remained confident that it would meet its 2013 objectives, thanks mostly to its luxury division, which includes brands such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.

Gross luxury division sales grew by 4.5 percent in the first quarter while sales in the sport and lifestyle division shrank by 4.9 percent.

In March, PPR, originally known as Pinault Printemps Redoute, announced it was shedding its image as a distribution conglomerate to push its global brands.

The change to Kering will be submitted for approval during an annual general meeting on June 18.

The name-change coincides with a company shake-up. PPR is spinning off European outlets such as the FNAC media and electronics retailer. Department store Le Printemps was sold in 2006.

France now accounts for just 5.0 percent of the group's sales, whereas the international market, especially Asia, represents its future, the company has said.

- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story -