25 Mar 2014

Hallenstein Glassons profit well down

11:51 am on 25 March 2014

First-half net profit for Hallenstein Glassons fell more than 40 percent, slightly worse than the company foreshadowed in January.

Hallenstein Glasson's December sales fell.

First-half net profit down 40% Photo: RNZ

The clothing retailer's net profit fell to $6.4 million for the six months to 1 February, compared with $10.4 million in the same six months a year earlier. First-half sales were down 8 percent.

Chief executive Graeme Popplewell has been forthright about what the problem was: the company failed to have the right balance of product and wasn't offering its customers what they wanted through the summer season, he said in January.

Now, he says the second half is looking more promising. Although early winter sales are only modestly higher, they are a reversal of the trend experienced in the first half.

Mr Popplewell says the environment is highly competitive with increasing levels of discounting and sale activity.

He says there's still considerable work to do to ensure the business' earnings recover to historic levels but he is encouraged by the results of the past few weeks.

The key winter trading months of May and June will be critical to the company achieving its targets for the winter season.

Mr Popplewell said the appointment of Tracy Shaw after a 15-month search as the new chief executive for Glassons is an important element in returning Glassons to satisfactory performance.

Di Humphries was Ms Shaw's predecessor who left to join Pumpkin Patch in 2012 and became that company's chief executive in August last year.

In line with the profit drop, Hallenstein has cut its first-half dividend to 12 cents per share from 16 cents last year.