Hallenstein Glasson Holdings says it’s finding the going tough despite its sales for the first 17 weeks of the financial year being 4.8 percent ahead of the same period last year.

“The trading environment has remained tough in both New Zealand and Australia,” chief executive Mark Goddard said in a statement.

“It is, however, not possible to reliably forecast the total Summer season trading result as the December and January trading periods contribute such a large proportion of sales and profit for the season,” he said.

The clothing retailer’s shares fell almost 2 percent to $5.50. Sales in the first eight weeks of the year had been up 7.2 percent, the firm said Sept. 28.

For the first 17 weeks of the previous financial year the company reported a 15 percent increase in sales and an improved gross margin.

Hallenstein Glasson gets almost a third of its sales in Australia, where it is expanding having sold its unprofitable upmarket Storm womenswear chain in April. The firm had 30 Glasson stores and three Hallensteins outlets in Australia at the end of July – out of a group total of 112 in the two countries. 

Goddard said the company will provide a further trading update at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Dec. 12.

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