23 Sep 2010

Pumpkin Patch to expand outlets

7:37 am on 23 September 2010

Pumpkin Patch is planning to expand its presence in its existing markets, as well enter new ones, to meet an anticipated upswing in global retail spending.

The children's clothing company has returned to profit, making $25.5 million in the year to the end of July, a turnaround from last year's $27 million loss.

Sales fell 11% to $382 million due to subdued sales in Britain, the United States and Australasia.

The company attributes the return to profit to cost cutting and closing unprofitable stores, particularly in the US, over the last two years.

Chief financial officer Matthew Washington says controlling margins will remain important, but in order to grow, the company intends opening 22 new stores this year, 14 in Australia.

Pumpkin Patch is also investigating new markets throughout the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

About 85% of the company's turnover is generated offshore and Mr Washington says he expects that to increase this year, with the majority of growth coming from Australia and the UK.

Shares in Pumpkin Patch were unchanged at $1.95 on Wednesday.