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MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Giorgio Armani's core profit fell 14.6 percent last year as the recession took its toll on the world of fashion.
"There is no doubt that 2008 has been a difficult year for the fashion and luxury market," Armani, who is in his 70s, said in a statement on Thursday.
Core profit or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was 303.2 million euros ($404 million)
But revenues edged up slightly, boosted by a strong rise in China.
The Italian designer, known for his classically elegant lines and muted colors in clothes, said consolidated revenues rose 1.5 percent to 1.62 billion euros.
Armani opened 50 new stores last year, bringing the group's retail network to 539 stores.
Armani, who has also expanded to chocolates and hotels, has several brands including Armani Junior, Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani, for which soccer player David Beckham and his Spice Girl wife Victoria have modeled underwear.
Victoria this week unveiled a new image for the Emporio Armani women's underwear campaign, that sees her posing in a lacy bra and panties against a wall, her hair tied high up and her eyes darkly rimmed.