European Earnings: Retailers Hit and Miss

European company earnings out Tuesday indicated mixed consumer sentiment, with some retailers blaming the early Easter for weaker-than-expected results while others reported strong results.

Tesco Shakes Off Retail Gloom

Full-year profit at Britain's biggest retailer Tesco jumped 11 percent, in line with forecasts, and the company said it made a good start to the year.

Tesco made a trading profit of 2.75 billion pounds ($5.4 billion) in the 52 weeks to Feb. 23, led by strong growth in its international and online businesses.

But results from department store Debenhams were not as encouraging. The retailer, which runs around 145 stores across the UK and Ireland, said headline pre-tax profit was 94.1 million pounds ($185.9 million) for the six months ended March 1, down from 107.4 million the previous year.

The fall was more thananalysts predicted and the company said the outlook was challenging.

Fashion retailer Burberry posted a 19 percent rise in second-half despite tougher conditions and said it expects growth in sales, particularly in North America.

Burberry said it expected wholesale revenue in the six months to September 2008 to increase by around 10 percent on an underlying basis.

"While Spain is expected to show further weakness, this will be countered by good growth in all other regions, especially North America, up by over 20 percent, and emerging markets, as we pursue our strategy of investing in under-penetrated markets," the company said in a statement.

Europe's biggest independent retailer of mobile phones, Carphone Warehouse, said its mobile business was strong in its fiscal fourth quarter, but it saw slower-than-expected growth in broadband connections.

The company said it expected full-year 2008-09 pre-tax profit to be between 215 million and 220 million pounds ($434.5 million) and forecast distributional revenue growth of 9 percent to 10 percent and fixed-line growth of 4 percent to 5 percent for the year to March 2009.

And the strong euro, combined with the heavy winter in Europe, benefited Swiss medical devices maker Synthes. Its first-quarter sales rose 19 percent, beating forecasts.

-- Reuters contributed to this report