RETAILERS posted mostly negative results in the first half, with some forecasting continued doom and gloom but others predicting that the sector's worst days are over. Most analysts said the territory was still in a negative buying mood, and that retailers did not look like the most solid companies to invest in. The negative performers in the sector saw profit slumps ranging from 9.3 per cent to 95.9 per cent. Best performers recorded profit increases of 10 per cent to 228 per cent, and some directors said the sluggish market had been a matter of consumers' moods rather than a lack of money in their pockets. Travel services company Morning Star Holdings was one of the worst performers, posting a plunge in net profit of 95.9 per cent in its first half ended June 30 to $135,000 from $3.2 million. Fashion house Esprit Asia Holdings reported a 15.6 per cent fall in net profit to $141.3 million for the year to June 30. This was despite turnover increasing 28.7 per cent. TVE (Holdings), the property, publishing, retailing and production company spun out of Television Broadcasts in 1988, saw attributable profit fall 8.7 per cent in the first six months of the year. Shoes group Le Saunda Holdings in July reported that net earnings for the year ended February 28 plunged 76.61 per cent, despite a 44.31 per cent rise in sales. Others posting losses for the first half included Star Entertainment (International Holding) and Saab car distributor Ankor Group. Video movie distributor Mei Ah International also plunged into the red and did not pay a dividend for the year ended March. While not all the results were negative, those making gains had their fiscal year running to March or April. Home furnishing retail chain Pricerite Group reported a 228 per cent increase in profit for the year to March 31. Joyce Boutique Holdings saw profits for the year to March improve 10 per cent to $75.2 million, with turnover increasing 20.7 per cent to $868 million. Others posting gains in the year to March included garment manufacturer Chaifa Holdings and Logic International Holdings. Lamex Holdings posted gains for the year to April 30.