Gucci Sees Double-Digit 2007 Growth, New Asia Stores

Luxury goods maker Gucci, owned by French retailer PPR sees double-digit growth in 2007 and aims to open more stores in Asia and eastern Europe, the label's chief executive, Mark Lee, said on Tuesday.

Gucci registered 10 percent growth in the first nine months of the year, Lee said, adding "we expect to close 2007 with double-digit growth."

The group has increased the number of stores it has in China to 16 from four at the end of 2004 and now aims to open new ones in places such as Macau as well as Bangalore in India.

"We will continue opening new stores in places like China. We'll also open some new stores in India, eastern Europe," Lee told reporters on the sidelines of a fashion and luxury goods event in Milan. "We have lots of projects, lots of activity."

Gucci will also open a new flagship store in New York in the first months of 2008, which will be its biggest store.

Lee said U.S. dollar weakness against the euro was a concern. "It's a concern, it's been a concern, we're managing it," he said.

Lee did not give an overall figure of how many stores the group would open but cited Prague and Hungary as potential venues as well as three new stores in India.

"India is seven to eight years after China ... It will be a very important future market," he said.