22 Sep 2012

Kathmandu continues expansion despite tough market

1:07 pm on 22 September 2012

Kathmandu says it continues to expand despite the difficult retail conditions.

The clothing and equipment retailer's profit dropped to $34.9 million in the year to the end of July, 11% down on the same period last year.

Sales rose 13% to $347 million, while sales at stores open at least a year rose in New Zealand and Australia, offsetting weaker sales in Britain.

Kathmandu chief executive Peter Halkett says it is a solid result, given tough trading conditions.

He says the outdoor category remains very resilient locally and globally, otherwise Kathmandu would not have increased total sales, but concedes consumers are more discerning and more cautious than they have ever been.

Mr Halket says most retailers have to work harder than ever and for Kathmandu that means getting the right styles, colours, fit and appropriate categories.

Mr Halkett says the company is hoping its new online service will bring in returns as part of overall growth plans.

He says Kathmandu is still growing in New Zealand and it has not finished its store roll-out in Australia which he believes is the company's single greatest growth opportunity.

Mr Halkett says it sells approximately one third per head of population to Australian customers compared to what it sell to New Zealand customers.

Looking ahead, Mr Halkett expects a better result - as long as the economy does not deteriorate further.

Shares in the company closed up 3% or 5 cents to $1.75 on Thursday.