* Asia-Pacific market still driving growth
* Own brand and Miu Miu sales revenues up
* Directly operated store network expanded to 414
HONG KONG, Sept 24 Italian fashion house Prada
SpA, which competes with Louis Vuitton and
PPR SA's Gucci, posted a 59.5 percent jump in net
profit for the first half of this year, bolstered by Asian
spenders who have continued to shield the company from slower
growth being felt by competing luxury companies.
The Milan-based company, popular for its coloured Miu Miu
dresses and leather handbags, said net profit for the first six
months of the year was 286.4 million euros ($372
million)compared to a forecast of 290.3 million euros from six
analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
China's luxury market, upon which global luxury powerhouses
have become increasingly dependant, has been hit by weaker
demand than expected due to slowing growth and a crackdown by
Beijing on conspicuous consumption.
British fashion house Burberry Group Plc's warning
on Sept. 11 that its sales growth in China was far slower than
expected spooked luxury investors and raised concerns that the
entire sector was in danger of stumbling.
For Prada, the company's own brand and Miu Miu have been the
main drivers of growth with sales revenue up 40.4 percent and
23.7 percent respectively.
The Asia Pacific market delivered the highest growth rate,
accounting for more than a third of Prada's total net revenues.
Greater China sales rose 50.2 percent to 334.6 million euros for
the first six months.
Analysts said Prada's leather goods sales tend to be more
resilient than apparel during an economic downturn and expect
the company to outpace its competitors due to its strong
positioning in handbags and its smaller store network.
Prada said while market conditions would remain challenging
for the short term with more general volatility, it remains
"confident about the near future and will continue to pursue the
retail focused strategy which is an essential pillar of our
long-term growth prospects."
Prada has continued to push forward with its retail network,
opening 28 new stores, but closing two, and taking the total
number of directly-operated stores to 414 at the end of July
Listed in Hong Kong, Prada's shares have gained 71 percent
so far this year, substantially outperforming the benchmark Hang
Seng Index which is up 12 percent in the same period.
Prada reported revenue of 1.55 billion euros for the first
half of the year on Aug. 6.
($1 = 0.7699 euros)
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Matt Driskill)