24 Mar 2011

Half year profit down for retailer

11:33 am on 24 March 2011

Half year profit at Hallenstein Glasson has fallen more than 16%, largely due to weak sales at its Glassons stores.

The company, which also operates the Storm and Hallenstein clothing chains, made $7.1 million in the six months to February, compared with $8.5 million in the same period a year earlier.

Sales during the Christmas period are critical to improving profit and this year Hallenstein Glasson says it struggled to meet its targets.

Sales at Glassons stores fell more than 6% in New Zealand and 5.6% in Australia.

Hallenstein stores performed better, with sales rising 3.7%.

But the company says competition remains intense in women's apparel, and it's having to pay suppliers earlier than usual because of volatile cotton prices.

It says the retail environment remains challenging at best and the rising cost of food and petrol is affecting customer spending.

However, it says it can comfortably manage to pay an unchanged interim dividend of 14 cents.

Shares in Hallenstein Glasson were unchanged at $3.71 on Thursday.