MILAN (Reuters) - Italian luxury goods maker Salvatore Ferragamo sees a "strong positive trend" for sales in Russia, despite the country suffering its worst financial crisis since 1998, Chief Executive Michele Norsa said on Tuesday.
"I would say there is still a strong positive trend, even if there are some days that are driven by how the financial markets are doing," he told reporters ahead of Ferragamo's Spring/Summer 2009 womenswear show in Milan.
"Up till a week ago, (in Russia) we had growth of more than 100 percent, also through new store openings. If you look at Russian consumers in Europe, Russia's consumer population was probably the one that grew the most this year." In line with other luxury goods makers, emerging markets are an important sector for Florence-based Ferragamo, which has said in the past it aimed to expand in the former Soviet Union. It already has several stores in Russia.
Luxury brands appear to be weathering the worst of financial storms but caution remains.
Chairman Ferrucio Ferragamo last month said the brand, for which Claudia Schiffer has modeled, had met "some difficulties" in the first six months of the year but he was confident that a turnaround in the market was close.
Norsa said it was too early to make forecasts for the year.
"This is something that is difficult to forecast at this time. We are in a phase of daily changes," he said.
Ferragamo was founded in the 1920s and Salvatore Ferragamo, who died in 1960, started out designing footwear. It has also become known for men's silk ties, handbags and scarves for women.
Norsa reiterated the company's stance that it was monitoring market conditions for a planned market listing.
"At this time, we cannot make forecasts. We will make a decision depending on how the market performs," he said.
Ferragamo's show used splashes of fuchsia pink and bright orange as well as pale pinks and beiges for long flowing dresses and outfits, with some of the designs finished off with a black string halterneck at the back.
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Victoria Bryan