JOYCE Boutique Holdings, benefiting from aggressive cost control measures and higher margins, has reported a 130 per cent jump in consolidated profits to $23.5 million for the six months to September 30, compared with $10.2 million a year earlier. Managing director Roberto Dominici said the upscale retailer - which operates 28 retail outlets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China - was able to produce stronger results because of tighter controls over sales, merchandising and administrative costs. Joyce, which enjoyed a strong second half performance in fiscal 1993 following a disappointing first half, reported turnover up 17 per cent to $307 million from $263.1 million. Mr Dominici said the company was satisfied with the sales growth because it exceeded the eight to 10 per cent gains produced by the upscale retail sector in Hong Kong. He said Joyce was expecting Hong Kong sales to jump by more than 20 per cent in fiscal 1994. While sharp increases in rental costs had hurt many Hong Kong retailers, Mr Dominici said Joyce had been able to re-negotiate its leases at attractive rates for the next three years and no substantial increases were expected. Joyce had also contained staff costs by keeping them below the percentage increase in turnover. Mr Dominici said productivity had also improved through a staff motivation and training programme, which cost more than $2 million. Investors, who hold stock in the lightly traded and tightly controlled company, have seen Joyce's shares jump 42.2 per cent over the past three months compared with a 23.9 per cent jump in the Hang Seng Index. The stock closed yesterday down one cent to $1.57. Last month, Joyce opened a DKNY boutique in a new Seibu department store in Shenzhen, tapping the desire by mainland consumers for top-notch international branded merchandise. Mr Dominici said the boutique, which sells women's fashion and accessories by fashion designer Donna Karan, had met sales expectations of about $15,000 a day. The first phase of a 38,000 square foot store in Taipei opened in September, with the second phase scheduled for December 17. Mr Dominici said the company expected the Taipei outlet to boost profits in the second half of this year. He said aside from an Emporio Armani boutique, expected to open in Bangkok in February, Joyce had no expansion plans for fiscal 1994. However, Mr Dominici said the company still saw room for more stores in Hong Kong by stealing market share from rivals. Joyce's private-label credit card business now has 27,000 cards in circulation, a 40 per cent jump from a year earlier. Mr Dominici said the growth of this operation provided Joyce with a competitive edge by giving it access to its customers' spending habits and a captive audience for an aggressive direct mail campaign. Joyce also announced yesterday the appointment of Horace Lee as director in charge of finance and administration, and Erica Li as general manager of Hong Kong operations. Mr Lee had previously been financial controller while Ms Li was marketing and retail manager.