* Q1 net up 15 pct at 5.6 million euros
* Sales up 6.5 pct, new IKEA store helps
ATHENS, May 25 (Reuters) - Fourlis FRLr.AT, the Greek franchisee for flat-pack furniture maker IKEA [IKEA.UL], said first-quarter net profit rose 15 percent, helped by the absence of an additional tax which hit its results last year.
Fourlis said on Tuesday net profit rose to 5.6 million euros ($6.8 million) from 4.9 million a year before, when an audit resulted in an extra 0.6 million euro tax.
Fourlis’s sales rose 6.5 percent to 163 million euros despite the economic downturn, after the firm opened its fifth IKEA store. Revenue from IKEA outlets in Greece and Cyprus, which account for about 80 percent of operating profit, rose 4.4 percent to 72 million euros.
Consumers cut spending in the first recession Greece has experienced since 1993 and austerity measures to deal with the country’s debt crisis will keep the economy in recession for a second year in 2010, further hurting consumer confidence.
However, Fourlis aims at opening another new store in Greece this year and its first in Bulgaria in 2011, targeting a total of about 10 by 2013.
The stock trades on a multiple of 7.6 times estimated 2010 earnings, compared with a P/E ratio of 12.6 for Germany's Praktiker PRAG.DE, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes)
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