Leading fashion chain Esprit Holdings on Wednesday posted a 61 per cent leap in full-year net profit and announced nearly 300 North American retailers had agreed to sell its apparel from 2003.

The company posted a profit of HK$927.21 million (US$119m) for the 12 months to June 30, with turnover up 14 per cent at HK$9.22 billion and finance costs down 64 per cent to HK$13.9m from HK$38.3m in 2001.

Esprit, which counts Macy’s and Nine West among its US customers, said its results were boosted by strong sales and a cut in corporate tax rates in Germany, one of its main markets.

It also revealed plans to invest HK$400m (US$51.2m) in expanding its worldwide retail space by the end of June 2003 and said it wants to boost turnover in North America to US$100m by the end of June 2004.