DICKSON TURNS A PROFIT IN 1ST HALF, SETS UP E-COMMERCE SUBSIDIARY
Byline: Vicki M. Young
NEW YORK — Dickson Concepts Ltd. said Thursday it posted a net profit for the first half of the year and formed a subsidiary for launching e-commerce next year.
Dickson reported earnings of $42 million on sales of $208.3 million for the six months ended Sept. 30. The profit, however, was due largely to the $41.2 million exceptional gain from the privatization of the company’s non-Asian assets. The amounts have been converted to U.S. dollars at current exchange rates.
As reported, those assets were sold to Broad Gain, a private company owned by Dickson Poon, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Dickson Concepts, and members of his family. The $196.8 million purchase closed June 3.
The assets that were transferred include 50.1 percent of London-based retailer Harvey Nichols; 100 percent of Sandgraw, a holding company that controls the land under the Harvey Nichols’s flagship store in Knightsbridge, London; 56.6 percent of S.T. DuPont, the French maker of leather goods, perfume and pens, and all of TH Leather Goods, a company that produces and distributes Tommy Hilfiger leather goods and accessories in the U.S. and Canada.
In the comparable year-ago period, Dickson posted a $37.4 million loss on sales of $315 million. The company said the adjusted 1998 sales figure is $213.5 million, but provided no additional details.
The company said it formed a new wholly owned subsidiary, Dickson Cyber Concepts Ltd., for its e-commerce operation. “The finalizing of [the] e-commerce strategy is at a very advanced stage,” Dickson Concepts said in a statement Thursday.
Dickson also said its Seibu department store in Hong Kong will offer a personal shopping service in 2000. “The venture represents a totally new retail concept for Hong Kong and an additional collaboration between the [company] and its affiliated companies and business partners overseas.”
Explaining how the subsidiaries will collaborate, the company said in its statement, “Merchandise will be preselected from Hong Kong Seibu, all of the Dickson group’s shops in Hong Kong and the Harvey Nichols store in London.” It added that customers can view all of the items through video-conferencing facilities. Dickson expects to increase sales and profitability at the Seibu store without raising inventory costs. The personal shopping area will have a lounge and three private fitting areas.
The company recently opened its first freestanding Ralph Lauren children’s boutique in Hong Kong and launched Lauren accessories in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Dickson said that the recent earthquake in central Taiwan did not have a material impact on any operations. Dickson operates 68 shops and some distribution facilities in Taiwan. In addition to store openings in Taiwan, the company said it is also seeking to further develop its retail operations in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
By March 31, the end of Dickson’s fiscal year, the company will operate 200 shops. Its distributes such brands as Polo Ralph Lauren, Joan & David, Coach, J.P. Tod’s and Brooks Brothers through licensing arrangements and the establishment of in-store and freestanding shops.