March 20, 2017 / 1:03 AM / 7 months ago

China's Belle sees 15-25 pct drop in annual profit on weak footwear sales

HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) - China’s top footwear retailer Belle International Holdings Ltd expects its profit for the year ended February to drop by 15-25 percent from a year ago due to weak sales.

In October, Belle said its footwear business was full of challenges as changes in foot traffic across various retail channels and shifting style preferences of consumers put pressure on the footwear business.

Belle, which is due to release its yearly results by the end of May, said in a filing on Sunday that adjustments to its share award scheme as part of an incentive programme to management had also led to a significant increase in expenses.

The firm said same store sales of its footwear business fell 6.2 percent for the quarter ended in February, while sportswear and apparel business saw a 4.5 percent growth in same store sales. Belle distributes several sportswear brands, including Nike, Adidas, Puma and Converse.

Its number of retail outlets in mainland China increased by 86, bringing the total to 20,716 outlets at end of February 2017, Belle added. (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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