Luxury goods retailer Dickson Concepts plunged to its first loss after suffering the full force of the retail spending slump. Dickson - flagship of retailing entrepreneur Dickson Poon - revealed an attributable loss of $290.77 million for the six months to September 30, down from a $196.32 million profit for the same period last year. Mr Poon, the firm's chairman, said: 'Given the unprecedented slump in world markets, the group expects to report a loss for the full year for the first time in its history.' Contributing to the interim loss was an unexpected $156.11 million exceptional item, provisions for business restructuring costs and the write-down in value of certain assets. No further details were given of the provisions. However, the firm said it planned to lay off 140 workers at the Faverges factory of its ST Dupont subsidiary in France. ST Dupont made a net loss of $37.5 million on turnover of $320.6 million. 'It is the group's belief that the retail trade in Asia has unfortunately entered a period where professionalism has become secondary to financial capability,' Mr Poon said. 'In the second half, we will aim for break-even.' Dickson decided not to pay shareholders an interim dividend. It paid 30 cents per share at the interim period last year. Turnover fell 4.9 per cent to $2.45 billion, down from $2.57 billion the previous year. The loss per share was $1.084, against reported earnings of 73.2 cents per share for the same period last year. Christmas sales had so far been down year on year for all of Dickson's retail outlets and products, Mr Poon said. British subsidiary Harvey Nichols reported stagnant pretax profits of GBP6.1 million (about HK$78.32 million) 'Current trends suggest Harvey Nichols will be unlikely to achieve original sales expectations for the balance of the year,' Mr Poon said. The firm said the creation of two discount outlet stores in Hong Kong in recent months had helped it reduce old stock. It planned to open similar stores in Taiwan and Singapore. Dickson, which said it had net cash of $500 million, also said it would not change its plans to open new flagship Polo/Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers stores in Central in February. However, Mr Poon said the company was undecided on whether to proceed with its planned acquisition of United States retailer Barney's, given the company's expectation of a slowdown in the US economy. Dickson's fall into the red caught investment analysts by surprise. Most had expected the firm to report a small profit, in the $15 million to $20 million range. David Li, an analyst at ING Barings, said he could not foresee a recovery in the second half for the firm. 'The world economies are not getting any better and things may be worse by the year's end,' he said. 'But with the large provision, at least Dickson has built a lot of buffer now.' Worldsec International analyst Jean Hydleman said that, while Dickson had been good at keeping costs down, it would be difficult for the firm to return to profit-making levels unless its margins also increased to previous levels. She said: 'There's a game being played between consumers and retailers right now - people are still willing to spend, but only on 'sale' items.'