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Beijing reflects the value of Walker Shop trading model

Aug '08
Walker Group Holdings Limited a multi-brand footwear retailer with fast growing operations in China, announced its annual results for the year ended 31 March 2008 (FY2008), reporting record high growth in both turnover and profit.

During the year under review, the Group steadily expanded its sales network to capture business in the flourishing PRC and Hong Kong retail markets and also opened the first Walker One shop in Beijing.

As a result, it achieved a total turnover of HK$930.1 million, up 34.9% (PRC up 57%; Hong Kong up 9%) against last year, and net profit increased 14.1% to HK$94.7 million.

Excluding the non-operating items, such as interest income from IPO, gain on disposal of property, plant and equipment, and share option related expense, the Group's adjusted net profit for the year ended 31 March 2008 amounted to HK$83.3 million (2007: HK$83.0 million).

The Board of Directors recommends payment of a final dividend of HK 1.5 cents per share for the year ended 31 March 2008.

The Group's no-factory model not only allows the Group to assure product quality, but also minimizes overhead expenses. The Group's gross profit margin and net profit margin remained satisfactory at 59.1% and 10.1% respectively.

Meanwhile, the Group, without bank borrowings (2007: gearing ratio at 24.2%), maintained a strong balance sheet with cash and cash equivalent amounting to HK$452.2 million (2007: HK$47.8 million) as at 31 March 2008.

Ms. May Chan, Chairman of Walker Group, said, “The satisfactory performance of the Group for the year was the result of addition of new shops and growth in same-store-sales by 17.0% and 5.8% in the PRC and Hong Kong respectively.

The opening of our first Walker One, a multi-brand flagship store embracing the shop-in-shop concept, in Beijing on 28 March evidenced the value of the Walker Shop trading model.”

The Group designs and sells a diverse range of casual, smart casual and sports casual footwear products via extensive sales networks in the PRC and Hong Kong.

As at 31 March 2008, the Group operated a total of 533 self-managed sales points of which 475 were in 26 provinces in the PRC serving customers in over 92 cities and 58 were in Hong Kong.

To cater for the expanding footwear markets in the PRC, the Group expanded its sales networks by setting up franchised sales points in the PRC.

During the period under review, 37 concessions were operated by franchisees in the PRC, and seven were operated by franchisees in Taiwan.

Revenue from the PRC accounted for 61.7% of the Group's turnover, while that from Hong Kong accounted for 37.2% and other markets accounted for 1.1%.

Riding on the thriving Chinese economy and growing spending power of consumers, the Group expanded the sales points of its own brands, namely COUBER.G, FORLERIA, OXOX, TRU-NARI, ARTEMIS and WALACI and effectively captured more business opportunities.

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