Shares of jewellery retailer Luk Fook Holdings (International), which is expanding into less wealthy areas of the mainland, surged as much as 21.47 per cent yesterday after interim operating profit soared 239 per cent. The company, which has 220 mainland stores, opened outlets in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia in the first half as part of a push into less wealthy areas in China. Luk Fook said the number of mainland stores would increase 20 per cent each year for five years. The company aims to penetrate deeper into second-tier cities such as Harbin, Wuhan and Chengdu as well as expand its sales network in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Luk Fook also plans a third store in Macau to benefit further from the booming gaming industry. Net profit rose to HK$84.77 million in the six months to September from HK$29.44 million a year ago. The earnings surge was mainly due to higher income from its wholesale and manufacturing business as more customers resold gold amid highly fluctuating prices. Turnover rose 72 per cent to HK$1.4 billion in the first half, compared with HK$816.36 million a year earlier. Earnings per share were 17.29 HK cents, up from 6.06 HK cents a year ago. An interim dividend of seven HK cents per share, against three HK cents previously, was declared. Same-stores sales grew 15 per cent in the first half, according to chief financial officer Paul Law Tim-fuk. Retail sales rose 21.3 per cent to HK$751 million while wholesale and manufacturing revenue surged 232 per cent to HK$652 million. Luk Fook shares closed 17.79 per cent higher at HK$1.92 after reaching HK$1.98 following the earnings announcement.