The French franchising company, which is now controlled by Bridgepoint, improved its net profit by 32.8 percent to €30.2 million for the year ended last Apr. 30. The gross profit rose by 15.9 percent to €75.2 million, with increases of 12.7 percent in the contribution from its franchising services and of 33.6 percent for its company-owned stores. Exclusive brands and products played a big role, representing 33.6 percent of the franchisees' purchases.

As previously indicated, Alain Afflelou performed better in Spain than in France, where it has already reached a stage of maturity. The Spanish store network, which is still in a growth mode, raised its sales by 35.4 percent in absolute terms and by 13.5 percent on a comparable store basis. The number of outlets in the country grew by 34 to 117 during the year. Afflelou also added 16 percent new stores in other countries, where sales increased by 10 percent on a same-store basis.

The group now has a total of about 800 stores, mostly franchised, and their sales grew last year by 21 percent to €525 million. In France the Alain Afflelou banner saw its retail sales grow by 6.6 percent to €448.2 million, but on a same-store basis they were down by 0.6 percent, due to a decline in the 2nd half. The retail climate is still difficult, says the company, adding that its first 25 Plurielles stores are showing encouraging results.

Meanwhile, revenue figures published a few days ago for the 1st quarter ended July 31 show total sales growth of 7.2 percent for Afflelou's global retail network, which reached a door count of 807 at the end of the period, with a 1 percent increase on a same-store basis. The franchisor's revenues grew by 1.9 percent to €44.7 million, with a 40.1 percent decline in the sales of company-owned stores compensated by a 19.9 percent increase in revenues from franchising operations. Revenues from communication activities grew by 41.8 percent during the period.