Country Road’s decision to acquire the Witchery Group, which includes the Witchery and Mimco brands, has helped beef up the company’s results for the first half year by miles compared to the corresponding period last year.

The specialty fashion group achieved a consolidated profit before tax of $29 million, up 112.3 per cent from $13.7 million.

Total consolidated sales increased by 50.5 per cent on the corresponding period last year to $331.3 million. Total Australasian sales for the half increased by 55.6 per cent on the corresponding period last year and comparable store sales increased by 10.7 per cent.

Total South Africa for the half increased by 19.8 per cent on the corresponding period last year in Australian dollar terms, with comparable sales up by 2.3 per cent.

“We are in the early stages of our objective of creating one of Australia’s most prominent specialty fashion groups with complementary brands in the mid to upper tier of the market,” Iain Nairn, group chief executive officer, said.

“The market segments in which we operate are highly competitive and customers continue to be discerning in their search for value as evidenced by the recent slow growth in the specialty fashion sector. We have commenced leveraging Country Road’s existing scalable information systems and business processes across the group with a measured and considered approach.”

“We are encouraged by our recent trading performance but we remain cautious given the continuing volatility in consumer confidence, new market entrants and ongoing global economic uncertainty. We will continue to prioritise the focus on growing our brands and customers as well as optimising costs and inventory levels.”