Casual clothing retailer Giordano International, which posted a full-year profit increase today, says it is going to slow down its expansion in Hong Kong this year.

The decision to open just seven stores locally comes as part of a consolidation strategy and a drive to focus on upping its profit margins.

The company said that fewer stores would be opened in Hong Kong this year as the 92 it opened last year already served most of the city.

The company opened 17 new stores last year, which made up 20.93 per cent of its $4 billion yearly turnover.

For the year ended December, net profit increased 47.74 per cent to $393 million from 2003 - the company's best result since 2000.

Revenue for the year rose 18 per cent to HK$4.00bn, from HK$3.39bn.

Giordano International, which operates 1,585 outlets, also has a presence in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

The company signed a global licensing deal with Carlsson Developments (Asia) to produce and market Giordano-branded footwear in January this year.