Clothing retailer Hallenstein Glasson Holdings has reported a strong start to the financial year.
Sales for the four months ended November 30 were 7 per cent higher and profitability was also ahead of last year, as the company continued to invest in its stores and build its brand.
The group's annual net profit surged 15 per cent to $21 million for the year to August 1, as the Glassons, Hallensteins and Storm brands increased their trans-Tasman market share.
Chief executive officer Graeme Popplewell told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Auckland today that the company would continue to invest in refitting existing stores and open new stores but then only in very good locations.
The retailer plans to open one Storm and one Hallensteins store in Australia during the 2013 calendar year, subject to site availability.
There was also "considerable scope" to add further stores for Glassons in Australia but only in "very good locations" as there was "no longer any place for 'another store in another mall'".
The company would continue to invest in key stores, refitting its Glassons in Sylvia Park in Manukau, and Queensgate in Lower Hutt. It would also refit Hallensteins at Sylvia Park.
That would be followed by the refit of a further tranche of stores in the second half of the year.
With the expected growth in internet sales, the company would no longer need to have a store in every possible location. However, to increase its internet business there was "considerable value" in placing stores in strategic locations in Australia for the Hallensteins and Storm brands.
Stores on the ground in Australia were helping to drive internet sales, Popplewell said.
A year-and-a-half ago, web-based sales for the group were zero but by the end of the new financial year it would get about 5 per cent of its business on the web, he said.
On Friday the company will pay a final dividend for the year of 19 cents per share. Together with the interim dividend already paid of 14.5 cents per share, the total dividend will be 33.5 cents per share, up from 31 cents per share last year.
The stock last traded about 0.2 per cent higher at $5.08 a share.
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