Surfwear maker Billabong International Ltd yesterday (28 October) upgraded its guidance for the current financial year to 12% to 16% earnings per share growth, helped by the slumping value of the Australian dollar. 

Without the falling dollar, which increases the value of overseas sales, the company said it would have revised its guidance to a range of 4% to 8% earnings per share growth for the year ending June.

CEO Derek O'Neill admitted current sales are below expectations, adding: "More specifically, in the latter part of September and the first two weeks of October consumers retreated from traditional spending patterns to digest the new economic landscape."

But he said the company still expects to deliver double-digit sales growth for the year.

He added that forward order books in the US and Europe remain good, "although there is some weakness in Australia.

"There's also evidence of some retailers being apprehensive in initial ordering and placing a greater emphasis on repeat orders."

In its 2007-08 financial year, Billabong's global sales grew 17.6%, net profit after tax grew 12.6%, and earnings per share was up 12.6%.