Retailer Falabella beats 2014 profit forecasts
SANTIAGO, March 3 (Reuters) - Latin American retailer Falabella reported full-year earnings above market estimates, as a diverse geographic base helped offset weakness in some of its markets.
Falabella - which operates its eponymous department stores, home improvement chains, banking and other brands throughout South America - said late on Tuesday that core earnings in 2014 reached 1.02 trillion pesos ($1.7 billion).
That compares with a consensus forecast of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 996 billion pesos, according to Thomson Reuters estimates. Revenues rose 13.6 percent to $12.5 billion, in line with estimates.
Chief Executive Sandro Solari pointed to a boost in margins from increased efficiency and cost controls, despite the need to absorb recent acquisitions such as Peruvian home improvement chain Maestro.
"These results are especially positive in a regional economic scenario of lower dynamism, with exchange rate rises and inflation higher than expected," he said.
The 125-year-old company still has around 60 percent of its operations in Chile, which has suffered an economic slowdown and inflation persistently above the central bank target range over the last year.
However, it is expanding into markets such as Colombia, Peru and Brazil and into supermarket sales, helping cushion the blow of weaker performance by its core Chilean department store operations.
Same-store department sales in both Chile and Peru slipped in the fourth quarter as wary shoppers cut back spending on more discretionary items. ($1 = 616.3500 pesos) (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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