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SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian retailer Cia Hering has seen a slowdown in sales so far in December, the company's chief financial officer said on Monday, adding to signs of a sluggish holiday season in Latin America's largest economy.
Retailers in Brazil are expecting their weakest Christmas bump in a decade and forecasting a rocky year ahead as interest rates rise, the job market softens and the government looks to cut back on stimulating the economy.
Hering CFO Frederico Oldani said in a presentation to investors that the company is reducing plans for new stores next year compared with its 2014 forecast. He gave no details on investment plans. Hering originally projected 100 new stores this year, but cut back plans to 75 store openings in October.
Sales at Hering stores open for at least a year dropped 7 percent in the first nine months of the year, the company has said.
Oldani said the company was focused on improving profitability, aiming to close 2014 with "more reasonable" inventory levels and increase its gross profit in 2015. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Alan Crosby)