The Italian fashion house Prada saw sales in Europe outside its home market leap by a third in the year to January, surpassing even the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, with one analyst crediting mainland tourists for the rise. In a filing to the Hong Kong exchange on Tuesday, the luxury leather goods maker reported a 23 per cent increase in sales last year at constant exchange rates. Sales in Europe excluding Italy were up 33 per cent at constant exchange rates, while sales in the Asia-Pacific rose 23 per cent. Growth in Italy was 19 per cent, in North America 15 per cent and in Japan 8 per cent. Phoebe Wong, an analyst with Bocom International, said at least half of the European sales came from mainland shoppers. "The core European market continued to be the fastest-growing market, thanks to the strong tourist flow, particularly from Chinese tourists, whom we expect to have accounted for over 50 per cent of sales," Wong wrote in a report. "This is followed by the Asia-Pacific, particularly the greater China market, on better consumption support and stronger network expansion." The core European market continued to be the fastest-growing market, thanks to the strong tourist flow, particularly from Chinese tourists Nearly three quarters of the 28 brokerage firms that track the stock recommended that investors buy it. Based on preliminary figures, the group said it saw net revenues jump 29 per cent to €3.3 billion (HK$34.1 billion) in the year to January. Bocom said it expected the group's net profit to grow 38 per cent to €598 million during the period. Prada will announce a full set of results on April 5. While Prada called off most of its promotional sales during the last few weeks of the financial year, the group said it still realised 14 per cent sales growth in the final quarter. The group, which owns brands including Prada, Miu Miu, Church's and Car Shoe, added 78 stores to its retail network last year and brought the number of directly owned stores to 461. Prada and Miu Miu were the main growth drivers, with their sales surging 33 per cent and 16 per cent respectively last year. Prada's share prices closed 0.62 per cent lower at HK$72.40 yesterday before the announcement of the results, compared with a 1.02 per cent drop in the Hang Seng Index.