UPDATE G2.20pm Good old-fashioned customer service has allowed fashion chain Noni B to shrug off the retail blues and post a big rise in profit.
The 30-year-old womenswear retailer expects net profit for the 2012 financial year will come in between $2.5 million and $2.7 million, a major improvement on the $200,000 result in 2011.
Sales also rose 2 per cent to $119.7 million in 2012.
Joint managing director David Kindl said the result was largely aided by improving the way store staff deal with customers and the fashions they sell.
"It’s is one of the greatest differentiators we have,” he told AAP on Thursday after releasing an earnings update.
"Customers should be made to feel very welcome and be able to find something they are looking for and that fits.
"Then hopefully they will buy it and leave with a smile on their face."
Noni B is one of a handful of retailers to provide upbeat earnings guidance in recent months, with most struggling to convince shoppers to part with their cash.
Mr Kindl said trading conditions remained challenging.
"There’s not much we can do to improve consumer confidence,” he said.
"Too many businesses are focusing on what they can’t control rather than the things they can."
He said while it was too early to say how the 2013 financial year was shaping up, he was expecting the fashion chain to benefit from the London Olympics.
"The Olympics make people feel good about things,” he said.
"If consumers fell good and happy then they are more likely to go out and shop and see if there’s anything they like."
Noni B’s shares closed up four cents at 70 cents.