Ian Miller, managing director of discount retailer Miller's Retail Ltd, on Wednesday said he expects the company to post double digit earnings growth for the first half of 2003 if it sees good trading over the Christmas period.

Mr Miller told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting that first quarter comparative store growth in apparel was up to 2.6 per cent. The company operates almost 1,000 apparel and discount stores across Australia and New Zealand.

"Comparative store growth has been effected by the reduction in stock per store compared to last year, however, this stock reduction has allowed Miller's to better manage margins, which on a comparative store basis are showing double digit growth," he said.

Miller's Retail believes improved performance over the next 12 months will come from organic growth and a continuation of its aggressive store expansion plans.

Miller's has 645 apparel stores under its Miller's Kids, Katies, 1626 and Silhouette brands. It has 325 discount variety stores under its Crazy Clark's, Go-Lo and Chickenfeed brands.