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Fashion retailer Noni B first half profit $5.7 mn
Feb '08
Noni B Limited announced an after-tax profit of $5.7 million for the half year to 30 December 2007, compared with $6.1 million for the previous corresponding period. Profit after tax from the company's Noni B stores was approximately 2 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period, with its La Voca stores, which are at an early stage of development, recording an after-tax loss of $0.8 million. The company's market share continued to grow, with sales rising by 5.8 per cent to $69.7 million.

Reflecting the directors' confidence in the company's prospects, the interim dividend has been increased to 10.0 cents per share fully franked (FY 2007: 9.0 cents), payable on 28 April 2008 to shareholders on the register at 14 April 2008.

Mr. Alan Kindl, managing director of Noni B, said: 'The increased profit from our Noni B stores is encouraging at a time when demand for women's fashion in regional New South Wales is still depressed by the lingering impact of the drought and the South Australian economy is flat. Sales have been particularly strong in Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory, helped by strong local economic conditions.

'We continued to expand Noni B's national coverage, opening eight new stores and closing two stores that were underperforming. We also invested $1.2 million in refurbishing nine existing stores and plan to refurbish a further 19 stores and open three new Noni B stores in the second half.

'While the loss by our La Voca stores is disappointing, we have always regarded La Voca as a long-term growth strategy which would take up to three years to make a significant earnings contribution. The concept has been fine-tuned in the light of our experience over the past 18 months and marketing expenditure has been boosted; and, with a dedicated team now driving the business, we are increasingly positive about its prospects during the coming winter season and beyond. Four new La Voca stores were opened during the half year, bringing the total to 19, and we expect to open further stores during 2008.

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