28 Jun 2013

Smiths City expects subdued retail conditions to continue

7:03 am on 28 June 2013

Smiths City Group is expecting retail conditions to remain subdued outside of Christchurch.

The department store made an after-tax profit of $5.4 million in the 12 months to the end of April, more than a fifth higher compared with the $4.4 million it made last year.

This was underpinned by a strong performance from its Christchurch stores, as operations got back up and running in the city.

The Wellington region proved the most difficult area, resulting in the closure of Smiths City's underperforming Upper Hutt store.

The company also successfully refinanced its finance arm with ANZ Bank, which the company said will reduce its interest costs by about 3%.

Group chair Craig Boyce said it had been a challenging but overall successful year for the firm.

In the coming year the company expects continued subdued trading across New Zealand, with the exception of Christchurch where people are rebuilding their houses and there is increased demand for products such as carpet, floor coverings, white wear and kitchen wear.

Mr Boyce said demand for other furnishing products is also expected to increase as the rebuilding continues.