Apparel retailer Country Road remains confident in a challenging market after notching up a net profit of A$2.3m for the six-month period ended 31 December 2005.

The figure, which topped profit of $1.5m last year, was boosted by a 6.7% rise in retail sales plus 5.9% higher same-store sales.

Total sales edged up 1.0%, dragged down by a 16% slide in wholesale sales.

Chief executive Ian Moir said: "The retail apparel market continues to be tough but we have experienced a good initial response to our winter ranges.

"Our improved fashionability and value is being well received but we are only in the early part of this season with the major trading period still to come."