Profits went up at Kathmandu Holding in its second quarter, ended Jan. 30, despite the global pandemic’s impact on its operations. In a preliminary trading update for its first half, the New Zealand-based parent of the Kathmandu, Oboz and Rip Curl brands said its results improved despite lower retail traffic, temporary store closures and staffing constraints in many locations. During the first quarter, factory shutdowns in Vietnam had affected about 50 percent of the orders place for the Oboz brand of outdoor shoes.

The group’s current view on the results for the six months ended Jan. 30, which will be formally released on March 23, calls for revenues to have gone down slightly to NZ$405 million (€237.7m) from the year ago’s NZ$410.7 million level. The revenues included an estimated NZ$159.6 million for Kathmandu and Oboz, and NZ$251.1 million from the surf segment.

The group’s wholesale revenues are estimated to have risen by 3.4 percent in the first half, with an 18.2 percent increase for Rip Curl offsetting a decline at Oboz. Same-store retail sales in the second quarter grew by 15.1 percent for Kathmandu and were up by 3.0 percent for Rip Curl, bolstered by an ongoing resurgence in surf participation. Meanwhile, the company’s online sales continued to grow year-to-date, with Rip Curl (+12.1%) and Kathmandu (+48.6%) both up by double digits.

The first-half gross margin is estimated to have declined from the year-earlier level of 59.0 percent due to higher international freight costs and an increased clearance mix for the Kathmandu brand. The company lost 11,696 trading days in the first half due to Covid restrictions, but it still achieved higher profitability in the second quarter than in the comparable 2021 period. The company spent NZ$14 million (€8.21m) on brand marketing and international expansion in the six-month period.

“Even though ongoing supply chain challenges remain,” commented the Kathmandu group’s CEO, Michael Daly, “forward wholesale demand for our products remains at record levels. In addition, the group remains well-capitalized, investing in the long-term international expansion of our global house of brands.”