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Profits soar at Esprit

Profits at young fashion brand and retailer Esprit rose 24.5% to HK$6.5 billion (£460m) for the year to June 30.

Sales at the group grew by more than 25% to HK$37.2bn (£2.65bn) over the period.

The sales increase was driven by a combination of a like-for-like sales rise of 6.9% in its stores and a rapid growth in selling space as it entered new markets in Spain, Norway and Finland.

Chairman and chief executive Heinz Krogner said: “The global economy is undoubtedly facing a tough macro environment. It is during this time, however, that a strong company such as Esprit demonstrates how such a financial storm can be weathered.”

Operating profit reached HK$7.7bn (£553m), and the company, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, increased share dividend by 32.1% to HK$4.2 per share (30p per share). Esprit’s total sales area broke the 10 billion sq ft barrier.

President Thomas Grote said the company planned to invest HK$1bn (£72m) in the business over the coming year. Further store openings are planned for Russia and Poland as well as other locations in Eastern Europe.

“Turnover growth was fuelled by our strategic expansion plan,” said Grote. “This year we invested more than HK$1.3bn (£93m) in capital expenditure.

“As we embrace the coming year, which will be full of challenges and opportunities, our target is to maintain our status among the industry’s leading global players and at the same time maximise shareholders’ value.”

Esprit, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has 690 standalone stores and 14,500 wholesale stockists in more than 40 countries.

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