15 Dec 2011

Trading conditions remain tough - Hellaby

6:59 am on 15 December 2011

Hellaby Holdings says trading conditions remain tough due to subdued discretionary spending by consumers.

The company says October and November have been difficult due to a sluggish economy; exacerbated by the distraction of the Rugby World Cup and general election.

It says people may be concentrating on repaying credit card bills, and that's meant lower sales of jandals and windscreen wipers.

Chief executive John Williamson says he's reasonably confident about the economy in the next calendar year because of farm spending starting to flow.

He says it's expected that discretionary spending in the short term will remain reasonably cautious.

Nevertheless, Hellaby's expects its full year profit to exceed last year's $15.3 million surplus.

Mr Williamson says the growth will be driven by operational efficiencies that have been made over the last two or three years, rather than by any further efficiencies or cost cutting.

The company is targeting acquisitions across the Tasman, and signalled that one-third of its investments will be Australian within four years, compared with 5% now.