Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

New peak for Kathmandu

Outdoor clothing retailer's stock price hits an all-time high after a record financial result.

Kathmandu opened 17 new stores in the year to July 31, bringing the total number of outlets to 136. Photo / Natalie Slade
Kathmandu opened 17 new stores in the year to July 31, bringing the total number of outlets to 136. Photo / Natalie Slade

Kathmandu shares soared to an all-time high yesterday after the company reported a record annual result and said another "solid performance" was expected in this financial year.

The outdoor clothing retailer's shares rose 33c to close at $3.18 last night.

Kathmandu has been the second-best-performing NZX 50 stock in the past year, behind accounting software provider Xero, rising more than 90 per cent.

Its shares are now 152 per cent up on the all-time low of $1.27 they hit in June last year.

Kathmandu said sales rose 10.6 per cent to a record $384 million in the 12 months to July 31, while net profit lifted 26.6 per cent to $44.2 million.

"This was a good result given the difficult retail environment," said chief executive Peter Halkett.

Salt Funds Management managing director Paul Harrison said there had been some nervousness in the market that the company might report a weaker full-year result than the previous year, especially given New Zealand's mild winter weather.

But a cold snap around the time of Kathmandu's crucial winter sale seemed to have bolstered trading in this country, Harrison said.

"It was a pretty solid result."

Halkett said it was pleasing that Kathmandu could report positive full-year same store sales growth of 5.6 per cent, on a local currency basis.

"Operating expenses reduced as a percentage of sales compared to [financial year] 2012, which also contributed to earnings growth," he said.

Harrison said it was encouraging Kathmandu's gross profit margin remained reasonable at 63 per cent, within the target range of 62 to 64 per cent, which suggested it had not done too much discounting.

Kathmandu said 17 new stores opened in the year to July 31, bringing the total number of outlets to 136, while online revenue had risen 55 per cent to reach more than 4 per cent of total sales.

The company would continue to open stores and refurbish existing sites in Australia and New Zealand, Halkett said. It would keep investing in systems infrastructure with the aim of further growing online sales.

"Provided there is no deterioration in economic conditions, Kathmandu expects another solid performance in [financial year] 2014," Halkett said.

The company declared a final dividend of 9c a share, bringing the total dividend payout for the year to 12c a share.

- NZ Herald

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