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Activewear brand Kathmandu says Australia is 'our great opportunity'

New Zealand activewear chain Kathmandu says it has improved sales in Australia through better products, promotions and engagement with its customers and sees it as "our great opportunity".

About 1 million Australians are members of Kathmandu's loyalty card program. These "Summit Card" members spend more money, more frequently than other shoppers.

"Australia is our great opportunity," chief executive Xavier Simonet said. Consumer confidence in both Australia and New Zealand were "reasonably OK".

The comments come after Kathmandu met guidance for its half-year results, with net profit up 6.4 per cent to $NZ10 million ($9 million), thanks to strong growth at its 161 Australian stores and cost cutting.

Overall, Australian sales grew 6 per cent for the six months to January 31, compared with a 0.9 per cent decline for its native New Zealand. Same-store Australian sales, excluding new stores, grew 5 per cent in local currency.

Kathamandu did not provided guidance for the full year, and said maintaining gross margin and operating efficiency would continue to be its focus. It is in negotiations to improve its international wholesaling agreements.


New Zealand broker ForBarr said the result was lower than it had expected and the quality was "not that great". Sales inched up 0.2 per cent while earnings before interest and tax fell 2 per cent.

"Bear in mind that this is a very small half for Kathmandu, the key issue is how the June/July period goes, nevertheless this won't help the price," it said.

Mr Simonet said he did not plan a change to Kathmandu's practice of discounting heavily from original prices, saying the so-called "high-low" strategy had made the retailer successful.

"We have made the outdoor category accessible to everyone," he said.

An interim dividend of 4¢ was declared, up from 3¢ last year.