August 14, 2018 / 6:10 AM / a year ago

China's ANTA Sports logs record half-year profit

HONG KONG, Aug 14 (Reuters) - ANTA Sports Products Ltd reported a record half-year profit on Tuesday as its online and offline businesses expanded further on strong growth momentum in China’s sports sector.

The country’s biggest sportswear retailer by market value said net profit rose 34 percent from a year earlier to 1.94 billion yuan ($281.90 million) in the first half of 2018.

Revenue jumped 44.1 percent to 10.55 billion yuan, while gross profit margin increased to 54.3 percent from 50.6 percent.

ANTA, which sells the Fila and Descente brands in China in addition to its own home-grown ANTA brand, has benefited from growing demand for high-end products amid favourable policies.

“China has set itself the goal of becoming a sports powerhouse and the sportswear industry is entering a golden era of rapid growth with unprecedented infrastructure development,” Chairman Ding Shizhong said in a statement.

“To enhance the influence in the global market, Chinese brands must go beyond winning on low price,” Ding said, adding that Chinese sports brands must compete on quality, value and brand, and innovation.

Analysts expect solid fundamentals for Chinese sportswear brands amid a recovery after distributors destocked in the previous year.

ANTA operated 9,650 stores, including ANTA KIDS, at end-June, compared with 9,467 at end-2017.

On Monday, smaller rival Li Ning Co Ltd posted a 42 percent rise in first-half profit, helped by improved inventory controls and stronger sales growth. ($1 = 6.8819 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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