Kathmandu will resume a dividend payment for its shareholders as sales for the group increased almost 13 per cent in the first half of 2021.
The company said its EBITDA for the six months to December 31 was up 19 per cent to $48.2 million, excluding the impact of IFRS 16 and one-off transaction and abnormal costs, comparable to $40.5m in the previous period.
It posted a net profit after tax of $22.3m - up 194 per cent on the same time last year - and experienced a 12.9 per cent increase in sales revenue to $410.7m, which included six months of sales from its Rip Curl acquisition.
In the NZX announcement, Kathmandu said it would resume its dividend payment, declaring an interim payment of 2 cents per share unimputed.
The company suspended dividend payments last year due to the impact of Covid-19.
Online now represents almost 13 per cent of Kathmandu's direct-to-consumer sales, up from 8.9 per cent last year.
Group net debt is now $10m following careful working capital management and its $207m capital raise in the 2020 financial year.
Kathmandu group chief executive Xavier Simonet said Rip Curl had delivered an "outstanding" first-half result for the group despite facing substantial impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, "validating the group's diversification strategy".
"Benefiting from increased participation in surfing in Australia, Europe and the USA, Rip Curl achieved strong sales and profits despite Covid-19 trading restrictions, reflecting the brand's technical product focus and strong consumer engagement. Pleasingly, Rip Curl's wholesale order book is back above pre-Covid-19 levels," Simonet said in the market update.
Simonet said the outdoor equipment and clothing retailer was particularly impacted by Covid-related travel restrictions, "with reduced demand for insulation and rainwear resulting from a lack of international travellers to the Northern Hemisphere".
"Over the first half, we implemented a rapid response to changes in consumer preference resulting from Covid-19. To respond to increased participation in local travel and adventure, our brands Kathmandu Holdings adjusted their focus to product categories in high demand, such as wetsuits and surfboards for Rip Curl, and camping and footwear for Kathmandu."
Rip Curl, which Kathmandu acquired at the end of 2019, made sales worth $251.1m in the period, up 86 per cent on its $134.9m result in the six-month period a year earlier.
Kathmandu sales slid in the period, however, down almost 35 per cent to $127.3 compared to $195.5m in the first half of 2020.
The company attributed "multiple headwinds" to Kathmandu's weak performance, including extended periods of store closures in the New Zealand and Australian markets and reduced demand for insulation and rainwear.
The group's footwear brand Oboz increased sales by 3.8 per cent and the company said its order book was "well above pre-Covid-19 levels".
Kathmandu said its decision to resume payment of dividends reflected the company's "robust balance sheet" and would be paid out on June 4.
Trading outlook ahead
Simonet said the group had "a number of key initiatives" planned for the second half of the year to drive increased sales.
"Our brands remain well positioned to capitalise on consumer trends that have seen increased participation in surfing, camping and hiking. Kathmandu enters the traditionally strong winter season well prepared. Oboz investment in new product sees it enter the second half with an order book well above pre-Covid-19 levels. Rip Curl continues to trade in line with the strong first half trends, and wholesale order books are above pre-Covid-19 levels," the outgoing chief executive said.
"Whilst navigating the ongoing impacts from Covid-19, our long-term strategy remains unchanged ... we are focused on the strong execution of Kathmandu's winter season in Australasia. We will also see the benefits from synergies and cost-out initiatives across the group, which we expect to deliver around $15 million of annual savings in FY21."
In the second half of the year, Rip Curl will begin implementing a loyalty programme, while Oboz will launch a online store and Kathmandu continue to focus on personalisation and utilising data analytics.
Kathmandu's stock is trading at around $1.28 per share.