RCG has lifted its consolidated earnings before interest tax and depreciation by 6.8 per cent from $12.4 million to $13.2 million, while NPAT rose 2.8 per cent from $8.9 million to $9.2 million for the 2012 financial year.

A majority of this lift was contributed by The Athlete’s Foot which delivered a total sales growth of 1.4 per cent from 199.4 million to $202.4 million, with like-for-like sales down 1.1 per cent and EBITDA growth of 3.8 per cent to $12 million.

The company managed to deliver these results despite the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data indicating footwear and accessory retailing contracted by almost 2 per cent during the 2012 financial year. Anecdotal industry feedback suggested the contraction was even more pronounced in the premium athletic space.

RCG CEO Hilton Brett said the resilience of the group is a great testament to the focus, dedication and skill of TAF’s franchisees, management and staff.”

“TAF has worked exceptionally hard with all its stakeholders, particularly its franchisees and customers, to deliver a seamless, compelling and engaging multichannel experience that not only provides customers with a unique online shopping option but also leverages the store network to drive greater traffic to the business as a whole,” he said.

“We are very pleased with the way the online business has begun and significant ongoing investment will ensure that we are always able to meet our customers’ expectations. We have no doubt that our commitment to multichannel will drive future growth through both the online and bricks and mortar channels.”

Sales strengthened in the second half of the financial year, with like-for-like growth of 1.2 per cent. This trend has continued in the new financial year. Sales for the first seven weeks of the 2013 financial year have increased by a remarkable 8.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Despite growing total sales by 53.2 per cent to $8.9 million and like-for-like sales by 4.9 per cent, RCG’s other retail business, Shoe Superstore, had a more challenging year, posting an EBITDA loss of $0.2 million. Strip shopping precincts, where most SSS stores are located, have been hardest hit by the downturn in specialty retail. This has exacerbated the already difficult environment faced by footwear retailers.

 “Despite its challenges, SSS is an important contributor to the delivery of RCG’s overall strategy. It continues to innovate and lead the way in RCG’s online capability and is an important channel for our wholesale business. A full operational review of SSS is currently under way and steps are being taken to realign the business to appeal to a younger consumer with a greater proportion of vertical product,” Brett said.

Management expects to be able to measure the impact of some of these initiatives by the end of the Christmas selling season.

Merrell continues to be the mainstay brand in the RCG Brands stable. With a focussed product offering across multiple categories and a continued investment in inventory and customer relationships, Merrell has grown substantially as a brand in the Australian market place since being acquired by RCG and has defied the trend in the branded footwear space.

RCGB saw sales grew 52.1 per cent to $24.8 million and EBITDA improved 32 per cent to $4.1 million.