Footwear retailer Belle's H1 profit down 3 pct, meets forecast

HONG KONG Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:34am EDT

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HONG KONG Aug 23 (Reuters) - China's top footwear retailer, Belle International Holdings Ltd, reported a 3.3 percent drop in first-half net profit on Friday, in line with forecasts, due to sluggish store sales and fewer store openings in a tough retail climate.

Belle, which distributes footwear and sportswear brands including Nike, Adidas, PUMA and Converse, posted a net profit of 2.17 billion yuan ($350 million) for the January-June period, down from 2.24 billion yuan a year ago.

That compared with an average forecast of 2.17 billion yuan by seven analysts polled by Reuters.

Revenue rose to 17.8 billion yuan during the period, from 16.02 billion yuan a year ago.

Shares of Belle have fallen by 38 percent so far this year, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index has dropped only about 3.5 percent over the period. (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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