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Oct 11 (Reuters) - French pens, razors and pocket lighter maker BIC cut its full-year sales forecast on Friday, blaming a weak U.S. lighter market for the latest in a series of disappointing results.
The company said it now expected net sales to come in between flat and down 2% this year, compared with a previous forecast for a slight increase.
It also said the margin on full-year normalized income from operations was likely to be at the lower of its 16.5%-18% forecast range due to lower-than-expected volumes and unfavourable foreign exchange trends.
BIC saw a steep decline in profitability last year, prompting it to launch a turnaround plan in February aimed cutting costs and stepping up innovation and online sales.
But the business has continued to struggle, and in July it raised its cost savings target to 45 million euros ($50 million)from the originally planned 20 million.
Third quarter product sales were lower then expected, BIC said on Friday, adding they were expected to show a 0.5% year-on-year decline, with nine-month sales falling 1.2% year-on-year.
It said the U.S. pocket lighter market was particularly weak, down 8.5% in volume terms and down 6.0% by value.
In the stationery market, back-to-school season sales in the United States and Mexico were also weak, while a recovery in India was slower than expected due to high level of inventories.
BIC will publish its final third-quarter numbers on Oct. 23.
$1 = 0.9061 euros Reporting by Piotr Lipinski in Gdansk; Editing by Nick Macfie and Mark Potter
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