Clothing retailer, Hallenstein Glasson, says sales are tracking above last year after four months of trading and margins have improved, though the Christmas sales period remains critical, chairman Warren Bell says.
The Auckland-based retailer’s sales are up two per cent in the four months ending December 1 from the same period a year earlier and margins are wider, indicating better profitability from 2013, Bell told shareholders at Wednesday’s annual meeting in Auckland.
“The next few weeks to Christmas are critical to our success for the balance of the summer season, but we are confident the business is in a stronger position than it was at a comparable stage last year,” Bell said in speech notes.
“As you are aware the next few weeks will have such a huge impact on our first half result, for all chains.”
Hallenstein, which operates the Hallensteins, Glassons, and Storm clothing chains in New Zealand and Australia, was hit by a poor Christmas trading period last year, which resulted in a 40 per cent slump in first half profit, something it struggled to make up in the second six months of the year.
It has since taken steps to address poor planning and buying in its Hallenstein and Storm chains, but Glassons New Zealand was still a “work in progress” which has been hampered by executive changes, Bell said.
CEO Graeme Popplewell, said the lack of a Glassons head has been a significant disruption for the business, and the company was considering some “very credible candidates” with a view to fill the role next year.
The shares rose 2.9 per cent to $NZ3.19 on Wednesday morning, but are down 18 per cent from a year ago.