While conditions continue to remain subdued, RCG Corporation said it expects to maintain its half-year profit and deliver full-year earnings per share growth.

Speaking at the company’s AGM, chairman Ivan Hammerschlag said whilst trading is still below expectations – where for the first four months The Athletes Foot was down 1.2 per cent in total and 3.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis – the results are still robust considering the business has had extreme growth over the past three years.

“These are the worst trading conditions I have seen in the 30 years I have been involved in retail. We are delighted that both our business model and our individual business units are sufficiently robust to withstand this challenging environment,” he said.

Hammerschlag also announced that The Athlete’s Foot is making a substantial investment in the technology, infrastructure and personnel to build a best practice e‐commerce extension to the business.

“This investment will deliver an integrated, multi‐channel experience to TAF customers both online and in‐store and will reinforce The Athlete’s Foot’s authoritative market position. The new ecommerce capability is expected to be launched the last quarter of the financial year, and we are confident that it will become a significant part of the business,” he said.

The company said ensured it continues to work on its e-commerce initiatives. The Shoe Superstore business is due to launch a substantially upgraded online store within the next two weeks. The business is also working on other exciting e‐commerce initiatives which it expects to be able to announce soon. Online sales already account for more than 10 per cent of Shoe Superstore’s total sales.

Meanwhile, the group’s best performing division, RCG Brands, reported substantial sales increases for the four months to October, with its flagship Merrell brand more than 20 per cent up on the same period in the prior year. The newly acquired CAT business is also performing to plan.

 “We are very pleased with the performance of our wholesale and distribution division which continues to grow at an exceptional rate despite subdued trading conditions. We are confident of being able to grow sales from this division by more than 35% for the financial year,” Hammerschlag said.