• H1 profit down 21% to HKD2.14bn
  • Turnover dropped 4.2% to HKD17.7bn
  • “China is our new growth engine”

Fashion retailer Esprit Holdings Limited today (10 February) booked a 21% slump in first-half profit, dragged down by lower sales in Europe and in its wholesale unit.

Net profit for the six months to 31 December fell to HKD2.14bn (US$275bn), down from HKD2.705bn in the same period last year.

Likewise, turnover was down to HKD17.7bn, a drop of 4.2% on last year's HKD18.5bn, but the group focused instead on 1.6% top line growth in local currency. In its second quarter, sales edged up 0.8% to HKD9.18bn.

In Europe, which accounts for 79% of its turnover, sales slipped 3.3%, which the company blamed on adverse weather conditions in the run-up to Christmas. This fall offset 8.1% growth in North America and 35.2% in Asia Pacific.

“With the acquisition of the remaining equity interest in the former China joint venture, China is our new growth engine driving further expansion,” noted group CEO Ronald Van der Vis.

The retailer also said chairman Heinz Jurgen Krogner-Kornalik is leaving the company tomorrow (11 February) for personal reasons. Hans-Joachim Korber, an independent non-executive director of the company since May 2008, will succeed him.