Esprit Holdings Limited has announced its final results for the year ended June 30, 2009.

The group’s turnover grew 10% to HK$34.5 billion as customer demand remained resilient, with comparable store sales growing by 3.5%. Esprit’s retail business now contributes over 47% (FY 2007-8 was 43%) to the group’s turnover.

Esprit generated an operating profit of HK$5.729 billion with an operating profit margin of 16.6% (FY 2007-8 was 20.7%). This year, however, selling space of retail and franchise stores each grew by around 15%. During the year, the group also improved operating efficiency by revamping its IT system and cost-cutting. Net profit margin was 13.8% (FY 2007-8 was 17.3%).

Meanwhile, the group maintained a net cash balance of HK$4.8 billion, as the board proposed a final, special dividend of HK$2.05 per share.

“I have always believed in the strength of Esprit,” said Heinz Krogner, Chairman and Group CEO. “This year, the robustness of our company was put to the ultimate stress test. On many fronts, I am proud to see that the evidence of the resilience of our business model is abundant. Nevertheless, I see difficult times as a wake-up call and I have taken this opportunity to strengthen and consolidate the operating platform, all in preparation for future growth as the global economy recovers. I am convinced that Esprit will emerge as a bigger and stronger company.”

Esprit currently operates over 800 directly-managed retail stores worldwide and distributes its products in over 14,000 controlled space wholesale point-of-sales internationally, occupying a total selling space of over 1,100,000 sq. meters in more than 40 countries.

—Melanie Gropler