Italy shoemaker Geox sees slowdown into H1 2013

MILAN Thu Nov 8, 2012 12:27pm EST

MILAN Nov 8 (Reuters) - Italy's shoemaker Geox is expecting sales to decline by around eight percent through to the first half of 2013 as a prolonged recession hurt shopping in its core domestic market.

The maker of "no-sweat" shoes said on Thursday sales fell nine percent to 701.5 million euros ($892.80 million) in the first nine months of the year. The group expects sales to fall at a slightly lower pace for the whole of 2012.

The company, which had cash for 60 million euros at the end of September, has appointed a new chief executive to accelerate expansion in high-growth Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe to offset weaker sales at home.

Europe, including recession-hit Italy accounts for nearly 80 percent of revenues.

"As expected, 2012 is proving to be difficult due to the economic downturn of the Europe's Mediterranean countries where the contraction in consumption is most widespread," Mario Moretti Polegato, chairman and founder of Geox, said in a statement.

Polegato said sales at directly operated stores were encouraging and showing growth of 9 percent in the Autumn/Winter season from a year earlier. ($1 = 0.7857 euros) (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio)

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