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Last updated 05:00 27/08/2014

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Retail chain Smiths City Group says sales for the first three months of the financial year have been flat.

While trading profit was up for the financial year to April, the company's sales for the first quarter of the current financial year had been below expectations, managing director Ric Hellings told the company's annual meeting in Christchurch yesterday.

"It was really a case of the good and the mildly disappointing, in fairness," he said.

"We had thought we could see some growth."

The good news for the company was a 44 per cent increase in profit from ongoing operations in the past financial year.

Overall profit was down 24 per cent, from $5.4 million to $4.1m.

The company's trading profit was up 44 per cent, from $3.8m to $5.5m.

The "highly competitive" consumer electronics market was still challenging, Hellings said, and "we're not really seeing that change".

Improvement on profitability came through Smithcorp, Smiths City's in-house finance company, and a boosted performance from the lower North Island.

Hellings said Smithcorp was "a standout performer" after the company took advantage of lower refinancing costs with ANZ in April last year.

"This shows . . . whilst retail performance undoubtedly underpins the organisation, profits can still be made even when retail sales performance is flat," he said.

Sales in Canterbury had taken a hit, with most competitor stores having been reopened for all of 2013.

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- The Press

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