Kirks posts disappointing annual loss

Upmarket Wellington retailer Kirkcaldie & Stains has revealed it made a loss of $773,000 in the year to the end of August, with only its property assets - currently up for sale - helping offset a much larger loss in its department store.

The NZX-listed company said its retail business made a loss of $1.76 million during the period, $1.1m worse than the result for the same period a year earlier.

Sales fell 2.6 per cent to $34.2m, while margins were squeezed because of competitive pressure.

The board of directors had decided not to pay a dividend because of the "disappointing" result, Kirks said in a statement.

The news came shortly after the 149 year-old retailer announced it was in advanced talks to sell its property business, comprising of the Harbour City Centre.

A valuation of the building in August said it was worth $46.6m, $50,000 more than a year earlier. However, since then Kirks has signed a major long term lease with Contact Energy for most of the office space in the building.

The news sent shares up 25 per cent to the highest level in four year, at $3.25. Shares are unchanged today.