Esprit says nine-month sales down 3.1 pct in HK dlr terms

HONG KONG, April 29 (Reuters) - Europe-focused clothing retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd said total sales in the nine months ended March fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier in Hong Kong dollar terms, but were up in local currency terms.

Stripping out the foreign exchange impact, revenue in the period rose 0.7 percent in local currency terms. Wholesale revenue was down 7.1 percent in local currency terms while retail revenue rose 8.1 percent.

Esprit, which competes with Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB HMb.ST, U.S. group GAP Inc and Spain's Inditex SA , reported sales turnover of HK$25.86 billion ($3.32 billion) in Hong Kong dollar terms for July-March, down from HK$26.697 billion a year earlier, according to a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange late on Thursday.

Sales in Europe, which accounted for 79.1 percent of total turnover during the period, fell 3.6 percent in local currency terms while Asia-Pacific sales rose 26.3 percent and North America and other regions gained 9.4 percent.

Retail store sales fell 1 percent during the period, it said.

Similar to rivals, Esprit faces the challenge of rising raw materials costs, such as cotton, which will pressure sales of budget clothing chains.

In February, Esprit posted a 21 percent decline in first-half net profit and said it would switch textile sourcing to Bangladesh from southern China to cut costs. [ID:nTOE71903B] (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Chris Lewis)


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