Specialty Fashion Group’s (SFG) sales for the first quarter are up for the start of 2013; however it was a difficult one for the company during fiscal 2012.

At the company’s AGM, CEO Gary Perlstein says 2012 has proven to be another difficult year. Sales from continuing operations were only up 0.4 per cent, which in turn resulted in the EBITDA profit of $21.7 million and after tax loss for the year of $2.8 million.

“The highly competitive environment has meant significant discounting, and this, together with higher rental and wage costs, are the main drivers behind this result,” he says.

Speaking on trading for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Perlstein says:

“Trading since July has been quite encouraging. We are achieving further improvements in gross margin as we’d expected, and also experiencing low single digit positive comparable store sales growth. Our brands have embraced the bright colour pallets that are the current season’s trend, and our customers are excited by our products.

“Despite these positive signs, we remain cautious with the all important Christmas period still to come.

“We remain of the view that consumers are fickle, and susceptible to becoming more cautious if there are any economic or political shocks that occur in the near term. Given the importance of the next two months trade to our business, we are unable to provide guidance of either sales or profit for the first half at this stage.”