Specialty Fashion Group — the owner of Millers, Katies, Crossroads, Autograph, City Chic and Rivers — had a better-than-expected Christmas.

The company also announced that Daniel Bracken, a former deputy chief executive at Myer, will succeed Gary Perlstein as CEO. Bracken’s base pay will be $850,000, plus short and long term bonuses.

The fashion retailer’s preliminary numbers for the December half-year show earnings of $18.5 million, well-above the forecast range of $14 million to $17 million.

The lift was due to better-than-anticipated trading over Christmas, combined with cost-cutting.

The shares were up 3c to 25.5c at 2.45pm AEDT, valuing the company at $43 million.

Specialty Fashion says the preliminary results show sales revenue of $399 million compared to $430 million in the same six months last year.

Specialty Fashion Group's (ASX:SFH) shares over the past six months.
Specialty Fashion Group’s (ASX:SFH) shares over the past year.

Profit was $3.1 million, down from $12.1 million.

“In a competitive retail environment, good progress was made towards our objective of building a platform for profitable, sustainable growth, and transforming the business into an agile omni-channel retailer with a strong and visible presence online and on the high street,” says chairman Anne McDonald.

“Central to this has been a program to optimise the store network, including the closure of unprofitable stores.

“Store teams have been retained or redeployed wherever possible and we have made significant investment towards the enhancement of our online platform to provide customers with a compelling digital alternative.

“Whilst it is early days, we are pleased with the results from store optimisation and cost management initiatives, and are encouraged by the Group’s trading performance over the Christmas period in what was a very competitive environment.”

The company, which is undergoing a structural review, has had a number of confidential takeover offers. “There is no certainty that any of these proposals will result in a binding offer,” it says.


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