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By
Reuters
Published
Feb 4, 2009
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Esprit posts first profit fall in 10 years

By
Reuters
Published
Feb 4, 2009

HONG KONG, Feb 04 (Reuters) - Esprit Holdings (0330.HK), the world's No.5 fashion retailer, posted its first profit decline in a decade in the first half of 2008-09 as a global economic crisis gripped its key markets in Europe and Asia.


Esprit spring-summer 2009

July-December net profit fell to HK$2.85 billion ($365.8 million), a 13 percent decline from the HK$3.29 billion posted in the same period of the previous year.

Three analysts polled by Reuters had expected a fall of between 1 and 14 percent in profits, with Deutsche Bank predicting a 14 percent drop to HK$2.8 billion ($359 million).

The Europe-focused apparel retailer, which derives half its revenue from Germany alone, has been hurt by a recession in Europe's largest economy as well as a sharp slowdown in Asia, with Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore all in recession.

Esprit's earnings are not expected to recover until the next financial year, but analysts say it may emerge more resilient than other cheap and chic fashion retailers such as Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST) and Inditex (ITX.MC) because of a diversified price range.

Esprit shares fell 45 percent in July-December, underperforming a 35 percent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng stock index .HSI. (Reporting by Parvathy Ullatil; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Jonathan Hopfner) ([email protected]; +852 2843-6415))

* Reuters 3000 Xtra clients can double click on [ASIA/EARN] for daily data on how reported Asian company earnings compare with analysts' forecasts, as measured by Reuters Estimates.

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