French luxury and retail group PPR managed to post first-half profits that beat forecasts despite a slump in spending on luxury goods in Japan and US department stores.

PPR made an operating profit of 707 million euros in the six months to June 30, down from 743 million euros in the year-ago period.

The retailer is behind Gucci Group, which is one of the world’s leading multi-brand luxury companies with a portfolio of premier brands.

Gucci Group owns the luxury brands Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Ross, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen (50%), Stella McCartney (50%) and Balenciaga.

“I remain confident in our capacity to further strengthen our competitive advantages and our positions in each of our activities,” PPR chairman and chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault said in a statement.

Markets outside of its home base in France continued to grow in importance for the company, contributing 63.8 per cent to total revenues in the first half of this year, compared to 62.8 per cent for the same period last year.