21 Nov 2013

Contrasting results for two major retailers

8:15 am on 21 November 2013

It was a tale of two very different brands at the annual meetings on Wednesday of two of the major retailers listed on the New Zealand stock exchange.

Kathmandu says sales in the first 16 weeks of its financial year are up nearly 1% to $70.9 million, about in line with expectations.

Chief executive Peter Halkett told shareholders that retail trading conditions are difficult.

However, he said sales to date are less than 20% of expected annual sales and the company's first-half result remains highly dependent on trading over Christmas and January.

The company announced it had appointed David Kirk as its new chair, and Milford Asset Management retail analyst Victoria Harris says that should prove useful for its online sales.

She says every retailer has to provide a platform for consumers so they can purchase by any means that they wish.

Ms Harris says David Kirk can bring experience of online strategy because of his relationship with TradeMe and will be an asset on the board going forward.

Pumpkin Patch shares fall after trading news

Investors didn't respond well to Pumpkin Patch's news that trading conditions were tough and it expects them to remain challenging with margins squeezed as buyers hold out for promotions.

Pumpkin Patch's shares fell nearly 9% to 84 cents.

Earlier this year the children's' clothes retailer announced a strategic shift and a new chief executive, Di Humphries.

Victoria Harris says that takes some time to work through and it's likely to be second half before there is any further improvement.

She says Di Humphries did a wonderful job at Glassons and turned the brand around and she will need to prove to the market that she can do the same for Pumpkin Patch.

Ms Harris says upward of 10% of Pumpkin Patch's sales are online and the earnings from online are greater than the sales from all of their New Zealand stores put together.