Fashion retailer Esprit is exiting the New Zealand and Australian markets with store closures set to cost 30 jobs in New Zealand.

The California-based retail company, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, will shut down 16 retail stores in New Zealand and Australia, along with 38 counters in department stores and 13 factory outlets.

In an market update, Esprit said operations in New Zealand and Australia were unprofitable and it needed to exit the markets to strengthen the business.

"Divesting the ANZ operations will allow management to concentrate efforts and
resources in developing other markets in Asia" including in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, as outlined in the market announcement.

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For the financial year ended June 30, New Zealand and Australian operations contributed $54 million (HK$297m) to the group's revenue, representing less than 2 per cent of its total revenue.

Esprit chief financial officer Thomas Tang told the Sydney Morning Herald New Zealand and Australian stores had been running at a loss despite "intensive efforts made by the teams in the past years to turn around the business".

The global retailer has been operating in New Zealand since the 1980s.

It has six stores in New Zealand; two in Auckland, one in Wellington, one in Christchurch, one in Mount Maunganui and an outlet in Auckland.

Esprit is the latest of a string of international retailers to have shut up shop in New Zealand over the past year or so, including Topshop, Pumpkin Patch and David Lawrence.

Local retailers Meccano, Andrea Moore and Minnie Cooper collapsed this year.

Other retail brands that have faced issues include Shanton, Federation, Jean Jones, Identity and Wild Pair, among others.

Esprit operates in more than 40 countries worldwide.

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