Lifestyle International, the operator of Hong Kong's Sogo and Shanghai's Jiuguang department stores, expects a rising tide of mainland tourists and economic recovery across the border to fuel retail sales growth this year. The company's stock edged lower by 0.31 per cent to close at HK$19.24 yesterday after it reported slowing growth in turnover. Net profit grew 10.2 per cent to HK$2.1 billion. The Hong Kong-based retailer has benefited from the surge in mainland shoppers visiting the city since the start of the individual visit scheme in 2003. However, some local politicians and businesspeople are calling on the city to cap the number of inbound mainland tourists, especially during festivals and national holidays. Secretary of Security Lai Tung-kwok said last month the government was reviewing the policy and would take action after considering the city's handling capacity. Lifestyle International managing director Thomas Lau Luen-hung said the company was "prudently optimistic" about business prospects for this year, and expected average same-store sales to show single-digit growth. Although the tougher economic times were prompting more mainland tourists to hold back on buying high-priced goods, this did not affect the firm's business as its stores offered goods in a wide range of price categories, Lau said. Turnover rose 7.6 per cent to HK$5.52 billion last year, but Lau said the slower growth would not affect investment plans. The retailer is seeking new sites in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island because it will vacate its Sogo Tsim Sha Tsui site in February next year. The Sogo stores in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui had 7.8 per cent growth in sales revenue last year, accounting for 74 per cent of its total revenue and 21.3 per cent of revenues in the city's department store sector. Sales at the Jiuguang store in Shanghai fell 2.9 per cent mainly due to weak market sentiment and store refurbishment. It also operates three stores in Suzhou, Dalian and Tianjin. The company plans to launch another store in Shenyang this year and renovate its Causeway Bay store. A final dividend of 27.6 HK cents per share was declared.