Dickson issues results warning as sales slide

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 January, 1999, 12:00am
 

Upmarket retailer Dickson Concepts (International) saw a double-digit percentage decline in Hong Kong sales last month, according to chairman Dickson Poon.


The setback in its biggest market reinforced the likelihood of the group posting a full-year net loss.


Mr Poon yesterday gave a fresh warning over the group's performance in the year to March following a $290.77 million interim net loss.


He said ST Dupont, the group's Paris-listed luxury stationery arm, had continued to lose money in the past three months and was likely to post a full-year net loss.


'We are facing unprecedented difficulties in our markets, in which sales were achieved at the expense of margins,' he said.


However, the group was pushing ahead with its $240 million global expansion programme unveiled three months ago, he said.


The expansion includes the opening of flagship Polo/Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers stores in Central next month.


'It is important to look at investment on a long-term basis,' Mr Poon said.


Separately, the group's Britain-based high-end fashion retailing and restaurant offshoot Harvey Nichols Group yesterday signed a conditional agreement for a new outlet in Edinburgh, Scotland.


'It's a meaningful investment,' Mr Poon said. 'Scotland is a vital and strategic site.' The 75,000 square foot outlet will cost about GBP20 million (about HK$254 million), bringing to three the number of stores in Britain.


The outlet will be open in the second half of 2002 in the wake of long-running work on redeveloping the existing site.


Harvey Nichols' sales had dropped by about 10 per cent during the 10 weeks since September 26 amid sapping consumer confidence in Britain, Mr Poon said.


'There is a strong likelihood Harvey Nichols may not achieve the level of profits as in the previous year,' he said.


Harvey Nichols' pretax profit remained stagnant at about $78.32 million during the September half.


With $500 million in cash, Dickson Concepts was seeking investments in Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe, Mr Poon said.


However, he dismissed market talk the group or he personally had launched an offer to bail out struggling SAR retailer Dragon Seed.


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