The fallout from the Asian economic crisis and weaker trading conditions in Europe pushed upmarket retailer Dickson Concepts (International) into the red for the year to March. Attributable loss stood at $327.62 million against an attributable profit of $16.25 million for the previous year. Turnover slid 4.42 per cent to $5.05 billion. Former subsidiary, London-listed Harvey Nichols, saw operating profit drop 4.1 per cent to GBP13.72 million (about HK$169.2 million) and Paris-listed ST Dupont's operating loss widened 358 per cent to 54.6 million French francs (about HK$66.66 million). Dickson group chairman Dickson Poon warned that conditions would remain difficult for these two companies. The British retailer and restaurant group Harvey Nichols and luxury stationery-maker ST Dupont are now personally controlled by Mr Poon after a $1.52 billion corporate restructuring was completed earlier this month. The restructuring involved Mr Poon acquiring Dickson's majority stakes in the two companies, commercial property in Knightsbridge, London and a leather-products group in the United States. During the year to March 31, Dickson's operating loss stood at $43.51 million against an operating profit of $341.53 million previously. In Asia, Mr Poon said, the group achieved break-even results in the six months to March 31 compared with the first half, after reorganizing loss-making outlets, negotiating lower rentals and reducing personal costs and inventory. However, the group continued to feel 'the full impact of the economic turmoil in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand', he said. Dickson's ability to return to the black in the present year will depend on the performance of the Asian operations. As a result of the restructuring, it no longer receives an annual rental income of $40 million from Harvey Nichols' Knightsbridge store. The group had a net cash position of more than $400 million at the end of March. Harvey Nichols' attributable profits were virtually unchanged at GBP9.51 million for the 53 weeks to April 3 against GBP9.5 million during the 52 weeks to March 28 last year. The financial calendar was adjusted for accounting purposes as a result of the restructuring. 'Given the sluggish retail environment in the United Kingdom, trading during the first 11 weeks of the current financial year has remained difficult and cumulative sales are 0.3 per cent down on the comparative figure last year,' Mr Poon said. However, Harvey Nichols plans to open a franchised store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next year. Mr Poon also warned that ST Dupont would be in 'a loss position' for the year to March next year and would 'only return to positive results gradually'. ST Dupont's net loss narrowed 39.87 per cent to FFr57.9 million in the March-end year due partly to a smaller non-recurring loss of FFr10.4 million against a previous FFr97.9 million loss. It is rationalising its production capabilities and reducing costs and inventory level to improve performance.