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Online boost helps Hallenstein Glasson emerge from Covid-19 unscathed

Glassons fashion

Strong online sales helped clothing retailer Hallenstein Glasson minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company recording a decrease in profit of just 4.29 per cent in the year to August 1. 

Group-wide trans-Tasman sales reached $287.76 million, almost unchanged from the prior year. Group post-tax net profit was $27.77 million. 

MD Mary Devine said stores in both New Zealand and Australia were closed on March 26 due to Covid-19, with New Zealand stores reopening on May 14 and Australian stores during May. 

“Online sales grew over the period by 46.87 per cent against last year with an exceptional growth of 80.1 per cent within the second six months of the financial year. Online sales now represent 21.88 per cent of total sales for the full financial year but represented 30.3 per cent of the total sales for the second half of the year. The growth in online sales has continued into the new financial year being ahead of last year,” she said in a stock-exchange filing.

The Glassons womenswear division achieved sales of $102.6 million in New Zealand, up by 1.86 per cent, and in Australia $96.69 million, up by 8.03 per cent. 

In New Zealand, one Glassons store closed in Tauranga’s CBD, an outlet store in Hornby, Christchurch, was refurbished, and another in Wellington’s Cuba Mall relocated. 

In Australia, a Glassons store was opened in Robina on Queensland’s Gold Coast, a pop up opened at Sydney’s Birkenhead Point and the Eastgardens store in Sydney was expanded and refurbished. Two stores were closed – at Chatswood and Hurstville in Sydney – but the company is reviewing potential sites for new stores around Australia. 

New fulfillment centres were opened in both countries, prior to the advent of Covid-19, which helped the company manage the rapid ramp up of online sales after March. 

On the Hallenstein Brothers menswear side, group sales fell by 9.09 per cent for the year, to $88.48 million

“Sales were more challenging in the second half of the year as demand for tailored product diminished with the impact of lockdowns on people working remotely and restrictions on gatherings,” said Devine. “However, sales results in casual categories are encouraging and have outperformed over the financial year.”

In New Zealand, the Hallensteins outlet store in Hornby, Christchurch was refurbished a store in Tauranga’s CBD was closed.

“The journey continues with the repositioning of the brand and improving profitability with a successful New Zealand based marketing campaign and increasing local digital content,” said Devine. “Product also remains integral to our performance with a sustainable focus and improvements in product quality across core categories. Customer engagement is at the forefront of service delivery both instore and online.”

Since the new financial year began on August 2, 13 Hallensteins and 12 Glassons stores in New Zealand were closed on August 12, reopening on August 31.  

Another 11 stores in Victoria, Australia have been closed since July and unlikely to reopen before October 26, due to a resurgence of the coronavirus in Melbourne. 

But Devine says the Glassons Australia business continues to perform ahead of last year despite the closures.

During the first eight weeks of the new financial year, group sales have grown by 10.71 per cent year on year, driven predominantly by online sales, with physical stores struggling, especially in CBD locations.

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