Fujian-based sportswear manufacturer Anta Sports Products sees even better times ahead this year after reporting profit expansion of 3.6 times for last year. Better sales amid strong domestic consumption and interest income from its initial public offering last year raised earnings to 537.8 million yuan (HK$589.9 million), beating its own forecast made during the offering by 39.9 per cent. Besides being upbeat on the domestic market, management is counting on improving its product mix, renovating and expanding its authorised retail outlets and raising overseas awareness to stay ahead of the game this year. Turnover surged 2.5 times year on year to 3.18 billion yuan while interest income gains reached 127.3 million yuan, compared with 1.26 million yuan a year earlier. Gross profit margin improved to 33.2 per cent, thanks to a better product mix. The company raised its average selling price of footwear to distributors by 29 per cent to 88 yuan a pair, which accounted for 52.9 per cent of sales. The number of shoes sold jumped 55.7 per cent to 18.3 million pairs. Anta, which made a name domestically when it went public in Hong Kong last year, targets the mass market with the retail price of shoes, its mainstay, ranging from 200 yuan to 400 yuan a pair. Executive director Lai Shixian said the company was optimistic about this year's growth because orders since January have jumped 50 per cent from a year earlier. The company aims to lift gross profit margin to 38 per cent this year by renovating outlets to raise same-store profitability and adding more higher-end items to its product mix. It also plans to increase to 5,300 from 4,716 its authorised retail stores operated by 39 distributors within the year, including 10 flagship stores in big cities. Subsidies would be included in Anta's advertising and marketing expenses, which it budgeted at below 14 per cent of total sales, Mr Lai said. It spent only 372.3 million yuan on advertising and marketing last year, or 11.7 per cent of total sales. 'The results are quite impressive and their sales this year will be in line with this uptrend, thanks to the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games,' said Kallman Wong, an analyst at Taifook Securities. 'But uncertainty will hang over Anta after the big event.' Shares in Anta closed up 0.6 per cent at HK$8.44. It announced a final dividend of 8 HK cents per share.