Esprit Holdings Limited has announced its interim results for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2009.

The group’s turnover fell 3% to HK$18.5 billion (1H FY 2008-9 was HK$19.1 billion) while retail turnover rose 9.5% year-on-year. This was mainly driven by a 10.2% year-on-year increase in retail selling space, compared to Dec. 31, 2008. Esprit’s retail business now contributes over 52% to group turnover whereas wholesale represents 47.3% of group turnover.

Operating profit also rose to HK$3.37 million (1H FY 2008-9 was HK$ 3.41 million), while operating profit margin improved 0.3% to 18.2m, mainly due to an improvement in retail EBIT margin. Net profit was HK$2.7 million (1H FY 2008-9 was HK$ 2.85 million), while the net profit margin was 14.6% (1H FY 2008-9 was 15%).

The group also announced plans to acquire a 51% stake in China Resources Enterprise to gain control of its joint-venture business in China. “This is a very important development for our group because China presents a new engine of growth for Esprit,” said Ronald van der Vis, Group CEO. So far, there are several strategic initiatives in place to strengthen the company platform for growth, including improving product differentiation and ensuring the better execution of its multi-channel strategy.

Esprit currently operates over 830 directly-managed retail stores worldwide and distributes its products in over 12,900 wholesale point-of-sales internationally.

—Susannah Carey