GARMENT retailer Theme International Holdings says bleak sales at the start of the Christmas peak season will not detract from its growth in profit and turnover for the financial year. Early reports indicate local retailers are experiencing quiet Christmas sales this month. Theme reported a lower than expected profit of $9.02 million for six months to September 30. But that still represented a 62.8 per cent growth in interim profit, against the 104 per cent increase in net profit for the year to March 31. Its share price fell sharply on December 15 and 16 - right after the release of its results - to a low in the past month of 95 cents. That compares with the issue price of $1.08, and the highest ever price of $1.41 on the first day of trading in January. Director and financial controller John Ko Ping-yick attributed the fall to fund managers misinterpreting the profit and loss account. 'Some thought the year's profit would be the interim profit multiplied by two,' he said. That would mean only $18.04 million, compared with $58.98 million the previous year. 'But they were wrong,' he added. 'Sales in the retail business are very seasonal. The peak months, December and January, can account for a quarter of a year's turnover.' The group expected to be able to maintain its profit and turnover rates. He added sales would pick up with the falling temperatures: 'All garment retailers look forward to cooler weather which creates a shopping atmosphere.' To combat rising rents, the group would reduce storage area and refrain from setting up new shops in prime locations, he said. The retailer of mid-price-range garments plans to open 10 more outlets in the territory next year to add to the existing 66 and aims for 100 eventually.