Italian fashion house Prada, owner of the Miu Miu and Church's brands, yesterday reported global first-half sales jumped 37 per cent, thanks to strong growth in the Asia-Pacific market. Revenue in the six months to July increased to Euro1.55 billion (HK$14.89 billion), said the Milan-based maker of luxury bags and clothing in its preliminary sales figures released yesterday. Asian consumers' strong appetite for high-end goods helped offset the impact of a slowdown in the debt crisis-ridden European markets and the company's home market of Italy. Year-on-year sales in the Asia-Pacific leapt 45 per cent for the period, compared with 37.3 per cent in Europe and 21.7 per cent in Italy. Sales in the American market grew 31 per cent and Japan increased 34 per cent. 'Actually, the European market has been getting dramatically worse over the past three months, but the Asian market has remained relatively stable,' said Alfred Ying, an equity analyst with Piper Jaffray Asia Securities. Ying said sales growth for Prada in the European market excluding Italy fell to 25 per cent in May to July, compared with 57 per cent in February to April. Sales growth in Italy also slumped to 6 per cent from 54 per cent. By comparison, growth in the Asia-Pacific market dropped only slightly to 43 per cent from 47 per cent, he said. Prada, which listed in Hong Kong last year, opened 28 new stores during the period, bringing the total number of directly operated stores to 414. Its shares have surged more than 50 per cent so far this year, outperforming an 8.5 per cent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. The stock closed 2.48 per cent higher at HK$53.65 before the results announcement. Carlo Mazzi, deputy chairman of the company, said sales growth was driven mainly by the Prada and Miu Miu brands, which rose 40.5 and 23.6 per cent respectively from a year earlier. Same-store sales growth came to 19 per cent for the period. The outlook for luxury goods companies has been overshadowed by the global economic slowdown. British luxury brand Burberry said last month that its revenue growth for the first half slowed to 11 per cent from 34 per cent a year earlier. However, French luxury goods giant PPR, the owner of Gucci, and LVMH both reported strong growth for the first half, showing the luxury market remains resilient despite the economic turbulence.