Hugo Boss reports declining sales and is pesimistic about the future

HUGO BOSS gave a gloomy outlook for the rest of the year after its third-quarter operating earnings fell by almost a third and missed analysts’ estimates, as consumers continued to shun high-end fashion.

The German fashion company known for its sharply cut suits said on Monday that 2009 "will remain an extremely difficult year" for the high-end fashion industry in light of the overall economic downturn.

Data showed last week that German retail sales fell unexpectedly in September in a sign that consumers in Europe’s largest economy are reining in spending despite government efforts to prop up the labour market.

"Due to the extremely weak overall global economic situation, Hugo Boss expects a declining sales development on the level of the first three quarters for the remaining fiscal 2009," it said, adding it sees potential for an upswing in 2010. Sales declined 9 percent over the first nine months.

 It still expects full-year sales to fall, but now sees its adjusted operating margin at last-year’s level, having earlier said it expected profitability to rise this year.