Clothing retailer Hallenstein Glasson said its first half net profit rose by 26.5 per cent to $9.03 million, up slightly from the company's own earnings guidance.

Group sales for the six months ended February 1 were $108.57 million, an increase of 7.9 per cent over the previous corresponding period.

Chief executive Graeme Popplewell said the sales improvement had been achieved despite a difficult retail environment in both New Zealand and Australia. In particular record Christmas sales and a strong January had underpinned performance in the New Zealand market, he said.

The company declared an interim dividend of 14.5 cents per share, up from 14.0c last year.


Popplewell said the first eight weeks of the new season had shown sales growth of seven per cent, but he said it would be difficult to continue the earnings momentum over the rest of the financial year.

In February, Hallenstein Glasson said it was heading for a first half net profit of $8.7 million to $9 million.