Clothes retailer C&A to expand despite downturn

DUESSELDORF, Germany, April 22 (Reuters) - Clothing retailer C&A will continue to expand its branch network in Europe, unfazed by the global economic downturn, it said on Wednesday after reporting a rise in full-year sales and market share.



Privately owned C&A managed to raise its European market share to 5.24 percent in 2008/09 from 5.1 percent and aims to raise the number of branches to 1,450 by year-end and to 1,600 by 2011, it said.

C&A's revenue in its fiscal year 2008/09 to end-February rose 3 percent to 6.3 billion euros ($8.1 billion) at its 1,337 stores in 18 European countries, it said.

Europe's biggest clothing retailer Inditex, owner of mid-market fashion chain Zara, reported a 10 percent rise in its full-year 2008 sales, while arch-rival H&M (HMb.ST) posted 13 percent sales growth in the year to end-November.

C&A was founded in 1841 by the brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeyer in the Netherlands and today owns fashion brands like Clockhouse, Westbury and Your Sixth Sense. The first C&A store opened in 1861. (Reporting by Nikola Rotscheroth, editing by Will Waterman)

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