Wet spell good for some

Notos Com Holdings, which distributes well-known cosmetic and clothing brands in Greece, such as Yves St Laurent, Chanel, Lacoste and Kookai, is hoping that a cold winter and the Christmas holiday season in December will lift sales and boost profits. The group said yesterday it is counting on a 37-percent jump in full-year consolidated pretax profits after posting a modest 8.2-percent rise in the first six months of the year. Group turnover is projected to increase by 5 percent against a 3.2-percent rise in the first half. Giorgos Papazoglou, managing director, said April sales had been badly affected by the unusually bad weather and this year’s late celebration of Easter. «The continuation of the current spell of cold and rainy weather would be good for sales,» he said. Papazoglou said the optimistic full-year forecast also underscores the success of the group’s restructuring and merger of subsidiaries. «It shows we have tidied up our house and are prudent,» he said. Notos Com Holdings expects the biggest improvement in turnover to come from retail clothing sales despite a 7-percent drop in the first half of the year. Papazoglou said the division has the smallest profit margin and high costs compared with other units. Notos Com however plans on keeping a high profile in retail sales, seeing it as one way of promoting the brand names which it distributes in Greece. On the group’s overseas activities, Papazoglou said Notos Com, currently present in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Cyprus, with 26 outlets, is keen to strengthen its operations via joint ventures and acquisitions. It further plans to launch new brand names in the region. Pretax profits from foreign operations were down 15 percent in the first half of the year. Greece’s main consumer group INKA led a shopping boycott on Tuesday against rising food and other prices from the introduction of euro cash.