Department store operator Sincere's business deteriorated in the six months to August 31, with the company's loss increasing more than 50 per cent, the South China Morning Post reported today.

The company posted a net loss of HK$70.27m for the period, up from HK$46.25m in the same period last year.

Turnover was down 62.57 per cent to HK$205m from HK$547.78m previously. Loss per share was 12.24 HK cents. No dividend was declared.

Sincere operates two big stores and three speciality shops in Hong Kong. The company is also involved in property investment in Britain and the mainland. The downturn in the SAR retail market led to the company making losses in past two years.

Given the losses, doubts were cast in August on Sincere's decision to increase payments to its three executive directors by five per cent to HK$22.15m in the year to February.

The payments, which included salaries, allowances and bonuses, came
close to the HK$26.47m loss the company recorded in the year.