Li Ning Company Ltd
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Li Ning sales edge up in third quarter

Celine Sun

Sports shoes and apparel maker Li Ning yesterday said same-store sales in the third quarter improved slightly, following a dramatic decline in earnings in the first half.

Same-store sales grew by 'a low single-digit' between July and September, from the same period last year. The pace of sales continued into the National Day holiday from October 1 to 7.

Li Ning said it expected overall same-store sales to maintain a 'low single-digit growth' for the full year.

The Beijing-based firm has been struggling of late. Net profit in the first half plunged 50 per cent to 294 million yuan (HK$357 million) as orders from distributors fell for three consecutive quarters.

Li Ning is reorganising its distribution channel to improve operating efficiency by cutting single-store distributors and opening more discount stores.

By the end of last month, the brand's number of outlet stores and discount stores reached 218 and 285 respectively. It also said it had completed consolidating 300 single-store distributors.

'The distribution channel reform, in general, has been progressing in line with the group's expectations,' said chief executive Zhang Zhiyong.

The average retail discount for Li Ning products rose slightly from the first half because of the firm's efforts to clear inventory, Zhang said. Retail inventories had declined from the peak in the middle of this year, he said.

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Li Ning said it had appointed Lu Ning, former general manager of sales, as its chief operating officer. Three senior executives, including the former chief operating officer, left the company in May.

Li Ning shares fell 8.89 per cent to close at HK$6.97 yesterday.


The projected annual growth of the mainland sports industry between this year and 2015, according to Beijing's 12th five-year plan