Benetton profits were hit by over 60 per cent after it rescheduled its autumn deliveries.

The Italian fashion group said that the rescheduling of £74.6m (€88m) of stock also impacted its revenues which were down 3 per cent. It moved to the deliveries to its third quarter it said to better “match seasonality”.

Gross operating profits fell to £340m (€401m) in its first half from £392m (€462m) for the same period last year. Apparel sales across the group were £99m (€117m) lower than last year at £704m (€831m).   

Benetton group chief executive Gerolamo Caccia Dominioni said: “The decision to reschedule deliveries of the 2009 Fall/Winter collection only, was taken in this specific market situation to optimise synchronisation of demand for the products with the actual presence of the new collection garments in the stores.”

He added: “The temporarily deferred sales will thus be recovered in the third quarter of the year, with a reduction of around 3%, compared with 2008, in the cumulative results for the nine months. The combination of the good level of orders taken for the new Fall/Winter collection and actions currently in progress on the cost front thus allow reasonable optimism for the end of 2009 in respect of sales, profit and net indebtedness.”