October 17, 2011 / 2:11 AM / in 6 years

Prada forecasts China sales to triple in 2-3 years - report

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HONG KONG, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Italian fashion house Prada SpA sees strong growth in China, with sales expected to triple in coming years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported on Monday, citing senior executive.

The luxury market would not closely track economic weakness, and Prada was optimistic over growth in Asia particularly in China, where sales are expected to double or even triple in the next two to three years, Deputy Chairman Carlo Mazzi told reporters.

"About 40 percent of our business is from Asia, and it may rise to 50 percent next year," Mazzi said. "I don't think China's economy will be seriously hit by the global economic crisis."

Mazzi said Prada had confidence in China because of strong domestic demand and the country's ability to increase investment in areas such as infrastructure, providing good growth prospects.

Sales from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau totalled 223 million euros for the six months ended in July, up 38 percent from a year earlier and representing about 20 percent of total revenue for the period, the newspaper reported.

The underdeveloped South American market was also seen as a potential growth engine, Mazzi added.

Milan-based Prada, a maker of luxury bags and Miu Miu dresses, in September posted a 74 percent rise in first-half profit, beating the forecast in its June listing prospectus, and said it would stick to its plan for opening new retail outlets.

Its shares were up 6.6 percent at HK$36.15 at 0205 GMT, outpacing a 2 percent gain in Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index . (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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