* Yoox expects growth in international sales and profits
* Investment in technology weighed on 1st-quarter profit
* Russia sales slowed in March but picked up in April
(Adds detail on Russia, China, Italy sales)
MILAN, May 7 Italian online retailer Yoox
said on Wednesday it expected continued revenue and
profit growth this year as it reported a 14.6 percent rise in
net sales for the first quarter.
Yoox, which runs its own multibrand websites and powers
online shops for brands including Armani and Yves Saint Laurent
, said strong sales in Italy and the rest of Europe
helped boost revenue to 126.5 million euros ($176 million),
broadly in line with analysts' expectations.
Continued investment in technology and the impact of
exchange rates weighed on net profit for the quarter. Profit was
0.9 million euros, down 13.4 percent from the year-earlier
period, but the company said it expected growth at its top and
bottom lines for the rest of the year.
"All of the group's key markets and both business lines are
expected to contribute positively to ... growth" in sales and
profits, the company said in a statement.
Yoox said it was seeing the benefit of its investments in
China, where the introduction in February of its full range of
brands helped drive sales there up 24 percent.
At home in Italy, where it makes 16 percent of sales, Yoox
saw revenue rise 20 percent.
Despite the traditional perception of the Italian market as
being behind the rest of Western Europe for internet use, Yoox
said purchases on smartphones and tablets in Italy contribute 19
percent more to its revenue than in the rest of the world.
Company executives said on a conference call that sales
growth in Russia slowed in March due to the crisis in Ukraine,
but picked up in April, making them optimistic for the second
Trading in Russia has also been affected by currency
volatility, but was nonetheless strong in January and February,
A Milan-based analyst said the company, which does not split
out revenues from Europe outside Italy, makes around 5 percent
of sales and just under 5 percent of profits in Russia.
Yoox said it had renewed its partnership to power an online
store for fashion house DSquared2 for a further five years.
Growth in the company's main multi-brand business, which
includes yoox.com, thecorner.com and shoescribe.com, continued
to outpace growth in its monobrand business, which counts
Italian cashmere king Brunello Cucinelli among its
clients, by almost 3 percentage points.
($1 = 0.7183 Euros)
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Leslie Adler)