By  on January 31, 2008

Hong Kong-based apparel retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd. on Wednesday posted a 37 percent jump in earnings in the half and said it is considering possible acquisitions.For the six months ended Dec. 31, earnings reached 3.3 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $422 million. Sales for the period grew 27 percent to 18.5 billion HKD, or $2.4 billion. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.The company said in a statement that results benefited from a stronger euro. During a Webcast, the retailer said it will be looking for acquisitions and will only purchase brands that match the caliber of Esprit. The move follows a decline in mergers and acquisition activity among private equity players, leaving the field open for strategic firms, such as Esprit, to eye key companies.The retailer's portfolio includes the edc line, which targets a younger shopper. A new product line, de.corp Esprit Urban Casual, will launch in March. "We see the potential weakening of global economic conditions as an opportunity to gain market share, particularly through retail expansion," management said in a statement. While Europe accounted for more than 85 percent of the company's sales, Esprit is looking to grow its business in North America and Asia. The company will invest more than 500 million HKD, about $64 million, to open more than 60 stores globally. During the six-month period, the company opened a new flagship at Rockefeller Center in New York.

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