Hallenstein Glasson first-half profit rises 26% on record Christmas

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the clothing retailer, first-half earnings rose 27 percent after a record Christmas and a strong January in the New Zealand market.

Profit rose to $9 million in the six months ended Feb. 1, from $7 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. That’s at the top end of the $8.7 million-to-$9 million range it flagged on Feb. 8. Sales rose 8 percent to $109 million.

“The sales improvement had been achieved despite a difficult retail environment in both New Zealand and Australia,” said Graeme Popplewell, chief executive. “It has been particularly pleasing to see the sales improvement in Australia where we are clearly gaining market share in a very competitive environment.”

Popplewell said there was “still some way to go in Australia before we can return a level of profitability acceptable to the board.”

Glassons Australia lifted sales by 13 percent while its loss narrowed to $204,000 from $652,000 a year earlier.

In New Zealand, Glasson’s sales rose 7 percent while profit increased 18 percent to $4 million. Hallensteins sales gained 5 percent and profit increased to $4.3 million from $3.6 million.

Profit for the group’s Storm outlets rose 70 percent to $476,000 as sales increased 27 percent.

“We anticipate it will be a difficult challenge to continue the earnings momentum over the balance of the financial year,” Popplewell said. “In both New Zealand and Australia fiscal policy will do little to improve consumer spending and the negative impact of reduced government spending is beginning to be felt.”

The company will continue to focus on its online presence as well as improving its bricks and mortar stores. In the past six months it refurbished two Glassons stores and one Hallenstein store. It opened a Storm store in Dunedin and will this week unveil a newly refurbished Glassons in Queen Street, Auckland.

Earlier in March, a Glassons store was opened in Melbourne and the company said it is continuing to search for suitable sites in Australia.

Directors declared a dividend of 14.5 cents per share, up from 14 cents a year earlier. It will be paid on April 20 to shareholders who registered before April 13.

Shares in the company rose 0.5 percent to $4.02 today and have gained 13 percent this year.

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