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Samsonite Asia overcomes sluggish markets

Luggage retailer Samsonite Asia has overcome “sluggish markets” around the region to record modest sales growth in the first half year.

Samsonite’s net sales in Asia increased by 3.7 per cent compared with the previous year, reaching US$470.6 million for the six months ended June 30.  Overall growth was driven by the success of the direct-to-consumer eCommerce channel and an increase in business-to-business sales.

The company says US Dollar-reported net sales decreased by 0.2 per cent reflecting the impact of foreign currency translation from the strengthening of the currency.

The worst-performing market was Hong Kong and Macau, where net sales decreased by 15.6 per cent primarily due to fewer Chinese shoppers visiting from the Mainland.

Asian growth was driven by the Samsonite, Kamiliant and Lipault brands, whose constant currency net sales grew by $9.3 million, $7.5 million and $4.3 million, respectively.

The group introduced the Kamiliant brand in Asia as a value-conscious, entry level brand during the second half of 2014, which has contributed net sales of $8.2 million in the first half of 2016. Excluding foreign currency effects, net sales of the Lipault brand increased by $4.3 million, year-on-year, to $4.5 million driven by further expansion within the region.

Net sales of the Hartmann, High Sierra and Gregory brands grew by 82.4 per cent, 19 per cent and 16.4 per cent, the Hong Kong-listed company reported.

Net sales of the American Tourister brand decreased by 4 per cent year-on-year, primarily driven by decreased net sales in the TV home shopping channel in China and South Korea.

China was the most sluggish market regionally, with sales dented by “challenging trading conditions, with decreased net sales in the TV home shopping and department store channels,” Samsonite reported.

“China saw first half 2016 net sales decrease marginally by 0.4 per cent year-on-year. Net sales in South Korea were flat year-on-year on a constant currency basis due to weak consumer sentiment.”

Japan and Australia recorded strong year-on-year net sales growth of 17.3 per cent, and 25.4 per cent, respectively.

In the emerging markets of Asia, Samsonite achieved notable net sales growth in the Philippines of 6 per cent and in Thailand of 11.6 per cent.

Globally, Samsonite’s net sales rose 4.1 per cent on a constant currency basis to a record $1.2095 billion. Adjusted EBITDA  increased by $6.3 million, or 3.3 per cent, on a constant-currency basis.

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