Italian fashion group Benetton has forecast sales growth of between 6 and 8 per cent in 2008, after posting revenues up 9.1 per cent to €2.08 billion (£1.57 billion) in 2007.

In its preliminary results for 2007, the retailer said EBIT was up more than 35 per cent to €243 million (£183.3 million), while net income was up 16.3 per cent to €145 million (£109.4 million). Ordinary EBITDA was up more than 27.6 per cent to €337 million (£254.3 million).

The retailer expected net income and EBITDA to grow more than 7 per cent in 2008.

Sales at the retailer’s United Colors of Benetton brand rose 9 per cent in 2007, driven by the menswear collection. The children’s range was up 15 per cent and the retailer plans to open 50 stores in 2008 dedicated to babies and new mothers under its Benetton Baby fascia. Its Undercolors underwear range climbed 12 per cent in 2007. The retailer will also focus on accessories ranges to drive growth.

At its European division, the retailer reported a 12 per cent rise in sales compared with 2006. In Russia, where the retailer has more than 150 stores, it achieved a 40 per cent sales increase. This came second to India, where sales soared 58 per cent.

Sales at Benetton’s Sisley brand were up 6 per cent in 2007 and it will open 50 stores globally this year.

The group has requested to be delisted from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Its shares will continue to be listed in Italy.