Fashion retailer Country Road has forecast strong full year profit growth after notching up a record first half result.
The Country Road Group, which also operates Mimco, Trenery and Witchery stores, said its net profit was a record $37.95 million in the six months to December 28, up 72 per cent from $22.1 million in the same period in 2012.
The company operates in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and growth in store numbers and the popularity of its new brands helped deliver the record result.
Country Road made a profit of $41 million in the 2012/13 financial year.
Chief executive Iain Nairn said the company said the retail landscape in Australasia and South Africa in the second half of the 2013/14 financial year is likely to remain highly competitive, as consumer and business confidence remains cautious and new retailers arrive in Australia.
"Against this backdrop we expect the group to deliver further improved results for the remainder of the financial year but at a lower growth rate now that comparative results include Witchery and Mimco in Australasia," Mr Nairn said.
The Witchery and Mimco brands were now benefiting after migrating to the group's merchandise and e-commerce systems platforms.
Efficiency projects would complement the growth initiative of launching Witchery and Mimco in South Africa, the company said.
The first half of 2013/14 was the most profitable half on record for the Country Road Group, as its four brands delivered their most successful summer season trading performance.
First half revenues jumped 27 per cent to $422 million.
Australasian sales increased due to last year's acquisition of Witchery and Mimco which posted a 28.9 per cent increase in sales on last year.
Total sales in South Africa in the half increased by 15 per cent on last year, in Australian dollar terms, with sales in comparable stores increasing by 13.6 per cent.
Australasian sales grew by 5.5 per cent, on a comparable basis.
Woolworths International owns an 88 per cent stake in Country Road while Australian Retail Investments holds the remaining 12 per cent.