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Thursday 15

November, 2018 2:41 AM



Specialty to start payouts as FY loss dips

Specialty to start payouts as FY loss dips

Specialty Fashion Group has reaffirmed its intention to start paying dividends again after trimming its full-year loss by 22.4 per cent.

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By AAP 28.08.2018 11:09 AM

Specialty Fashion Group has reaffirmed its intention to start paying dividends again in the coming year after trimming its full-year loss by 22.4 per cent to $6.97 million.

Specialty, which in May sold its Katies, Millers, Crossroads, Autograph and Rivers brands to focus solely on plus-size women's apparel chain City Chic, said revenue for the 12 months to July 1 fell 6.5 per cent to $752 million but that sales have since grown during the first seven weeks of the new financial year.

The company now plans to rollout standalone City Chic stores while reducing the number of concessions, and expects to resume dividend payouts in the current financial year after a four-year hiatus.

Shares in the company resumed the upward trajectory they have been on since the end of 2017, jumping 10 per cent to $1.07 at 1105 AEST on Tuesday.

They had been worth as little as 10 cents in December.

Chief executive Daniel Bracken said FY18 had been a transformative year for Specialty, which used the $31 million in cash from the sale of the five brands to pay off debt and end the year cash-positive.

"The transaction provides the best possible outcome for our shareholders, significantly strengthens the balance sheet, and provides the ability to focus on the growth and development of our City Chic brand," Mr Bracken said.

The Specialty board plans a minimum payout ratio of 50 per cent of net profit.

City Chic general manager Phil Ryan highlighted strong online sales, which accounted for 36 per cent of the brand's sales.

"City Chic continues to deliver a truly cohesive omni-channel offer," Mr Ryan said.

"With our single focus on the City Chic customer, a strong balance sheet and a highly engaged and energised team ... I am confident we will continue to deliver strong results and growth."

SPECIALTY'S SPECIAL YEAR

* Net loss $6.97m vs $8.99m

* Revenue down 6.5pct to $752.3m

* No dividend for fourth straight year

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