Brantano made a pre-tax profit of €5.8 million during the 3rd quarter ended Sept. 30, up from €3.5 million for the same period in 2003. As previously reported, the Belgian-based shoe retailing group reached a turnover of €87.0 million over the three months, up 8.9 percent from the year-ago period. The gross profit rose by 12.0 percent, reaching a margin of 50.1 percent as compared to 48.7 percent in the year-ago period.

Net income after tax rose by 35.2 percent to €3.4 million in the quarter. Operating profit before depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) reached €9.1 million, up from €7.0 million. After these charges, operating results (Ebit) reached €7.0 million, up 51.3 percent from €4.6 million.

Over the first nine months of 2004, the group posted 26.0 percent higher operating profit (Ebit) of €16.8 million on 5.8 percent higher sales of €234.2 million. The gross margin for the nine months was 49.2 percent, up by 7.9 percentage points from the same period in 2003.

The results point to a continuing increase in turnover in existing stores and improved cost management. As reported, over the nine months the group saw a growth on a comparable store basis of 6.7 percent in the UK and of 1.7 percent in Belgium.

Following the better-than-expected results, the group has raised its guidance for the full year of 2004 to an operating profit of €19.5 million, which would represent an increase of over 20 percent as compared to 2003, and has increased its forecast for the full year’s turnover to €320 million.

At the end of September, the group counted 315 stores, as compared to 313 last year. In the first nine months of this year, Brantano opened one store in Belgium and four in the UK. One franchising store was closed in the Middle East, in addition to one store in both the Netherlands and Denmark. Of the 315 stores, 125 are in Belgium (including Luxembourg), 133 are in the UK, 39 in the Netherlands and 14 in Denmark.

November 29, 2004