Maoye International Holdings, a Shenzhen-based department store operator, said it plans to maintain sales growth this year after posting a 4.77 per cent decline in revenue last year. 'In the face of the economic downturn, we will make sure there's growth in same-store sales this year,' chairman Huang Maoru said. The company's stores in the Pearl River Delta were hit hard by dwindling demand due to slumping export growth and severe lay-offs in the region. While Maoye reported a 4.2 per cent growth in same-stores sales for all of last year, it had 12.2 per cent growth in the first half, indicating same-store sales growth was negative in the second half. Maoye reported on Thursday its first full-year results since its trading debut in May last year. Net profit increased 24.9 per cent to 520.97 million yuan (HK$590.68 million) from 417 million yuan a year earlier, largely because of reduced finance costs and other increased income such as administration and management fees. However, revenue fell 4.77 per cent to 1.49 billion yuan from 1.57 billion yuan, although sales proceeds, which include sales from concessionaires and direct sales revenue, were up 5.2 per cent to 4 billion yuan. The commission rate, which brands are charged to lease space in its stores, was down to 19.9 per cent from 20.5 per cent in 2007. 'Store locations exposed bigger risk for Maoye,' said Fiona Wong, an analyst with Sun Hung Kai Securities. The department store operator runs 19 stores in 10 cities nationwide and plans to open three more by the end of this year. At the end of December last year, cash on hand stood at 867.9 million yuan, up from 352.7 million yuan a year earlier. A final dividend of 2.2 HK cents was declared by the store operator.