Sales in Australasia grew 20.6% during the year

Sales in Australasia grew 20.6% during the year

Australasian apparel company Country Road has said it expects fiscal 2014 profit to grow as much as 70.1%, despite what it describes as "challenging market headwinds".

In a trading update, the group said it expects profit for the year to 28 June to be between AUD87m (US$81.5m) and AUD95m, compared to AUD55.9m in the same period last year. EBITDA, meanwhile, is forecast to jump 41-50.8% to be between AUD115.7m and AUD123.7m.

During the period, total sales increased 20.3% to AUD849.6m from AUD706.3m a year ago, while comparable store sales rose 8%.

Sales in Australasia and South Africa grew 20.6% and 19.8% respectively.

"We are pleased to have delivered strong growth in sales and profit for the full financial year despite some challenging market headwinds from increased competition, unseasonably warm weather and contractionary fiscal policy in the second half of the financial year," said CEO Iain Nairn.

South Africa retail group Woolworths, which owns 87.88% of Country Road, wants to acquire the rest of the company for AUD17 per share - most of it owned by investor Solomon Lew, who has an 11.9% stake in the business.

Lew built up a 9.9% stake in David Jones last month and is believed to have threatened to block the takeover unless Woolworths bought out his Country Road stake at a premium.