Solid growth in Japan and China compensate for subdued sales in Hong Kong for fashion retailer I.T Limited.
While Hong Kong sales slipped 5.1 per cent to HK$3.28 billion, much of that was related to store network rationalisation, with like-for-like sales down just 0.9 per cent. Mainland China sales rose by 10.9 per cent to HK$3.837 billion and in Japan, sales soared 29.3 per cent in Hong Kong currency, or 31.6 per cent in local currency, to HK$945.8 million.
Total group turnover was up 4.8 per cent to HK$8.383 billion and net profit by 37.1 per cent to HK$431.9 million.
I.T Group operates its own brands, including Chocolate and 5cm, concept stores Izzue and Double-Park; international brands it has local licences for including Kurt Geiger and Camper; and A Bathing Ape, which the company rescued from Japanese owners in 2011.
I.T Limited’s total trading area shrunk by just 0.3 per cent in Hong Kong, reflecting the sheer size of its various brands’ network. But the company said the consolidation exercise and controlled discounting initiatives helped profitability. Same-store sales growth turned positive in the second half of the year.
“The results in our Hong Kong and Macau segment are particularly noteworthy,” said chairman Sham Kar Wai.
“They are not only due to the fact that Hong Kong is the home of the group and is one of the leading fashion marketplaces in Asia. They also reflected the determined efforts we made to move the business in our Hong Kong and Macau segment into positive territory in the second half of the financial year. We are also particularly encouraged by the recent relevant data showing signs of gradual recovery in the fashion retail industry in Hong Kong.”
On the mainland, the group now has 492 stores and an online business. While same-store growth of less than 1 per cent was far lower than the previous year’s 17 per cent, it was against an unusually high base.
I.T Limited is also experiencing solid growth in the US,m where it opened two new stores in Los Angeles.
“Our business in Japan and the US continued to outperform, and we are particularly gratified that the responses to the two new Los Angeles shops have been overwhelmingly positive.”