Anta Sports Products, the mainland's biggest sportswear company by market share, reported a 14.4 per cent decline in turnover in the first half as the industry continued to struggle with oversupply. Basic earnings per share declined 18.7 per cent. The company's profit margin shrank 0.7 per cent, in what might be a sign the worst is over for the industry. "The industry is not the problem, nor is the market the problem. The problem is that the industry has grown too fast," said Anta's chairman and chief executive, Ding Shizhong. "There has been too much race-to-the-bottom competition. Supply exceeds demand, and you end up with too big an inventory." The firm's average inventory turnover period rose by eight days in the first six months to 58 days. Anta tried to solve its excess inventory problem by destocking - lowering prices, making use of online sales platforms, closing inefficient stores and controlling new retailer orders. That resulted in turnover of 3.37 billion yuan (HK$4.27 billion) in the first half, compared with 3.93 billion yuan in the same period last year. Net profit fell 18.7 per cent to 625.7 million yuan. The firm reduced the number of shops on the mainland to 7,834, from 8,075 at the end of last year. It plans to have 7,600 to 7,700 shops open at the end of this year. Ding said the company's stock-to-sales ratio at its retail outlets was brought down to its normal range of 4.5 to 5 per cent and that it was expected to remain there. The firm's profit margin remained at 41.1 per cent because it cut the proportion of work it outsourced as it coped with higher human resource costs, executive director Lai Shixian said. The company made 52.4 per cent of its footwear in the first half, compared with 38.9 per cent a year earlier. Its factories are gradually moving inland from the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Anhui and Hainan. Anta has capitalised on the mass market by focusing on the most popular sports in the country - basketball and soccer. It also extended its partnership with the Chinese Olympic Committee for the 2013-16 Olympic cycle, making it an official partner for the eighth year in a row. The firm acquired the franchise of Fila in 2009 to tackle the high-end market and now operates 332 shops.