The retail segment was the reason for Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings’ 4.3 percent increase in sales to $2.65 billion in the first half ended March 31. The growth from retail reached 25 percent to $590.0 million, while manufacturing turnover decreased by 0.5 percent to $2.06 billion. Net income was down by 3.2 percent to $210.8 million. Overall profit for the six months rose by just 0.4 percent to $216.7 million. The gross margins for the half grew by 0.1 percentage points to 25.5 percent.

The world’s largest shoe manufacturer said its total footwear unit volume rose by 4.7 percent to 136.1 million pairs for the first half as the number of production lines expanded by 5 percent to 445 as of March 31.

By geographic region, turnover dipped by 6.6 percent in Europe to $553.4 million, fell by 13.8 percent in South America to $83.3 million, and declined by 8.7 percent in Canada to $41.0 million. Revenues were 1.8 percent higher in the U.S. at $793.9 million and up by 15 percent in Asia to $1,113.3 million.

Besides the above-mentioned jump in retail sales, athletic shoe sales inched 0.7 percent higher to $1,424.8 million; casual/outdoor footwear sales declined by 4 percent to $370.9 million; sport sandal sales fell by 20 percent to $43.5 million; and sales of soles and components rose by 3 percent to $225.4 million.

For the second quarter alone, total sales grew by 12.8 percent to $1.34 billion. Footwear manufacturing made up 69.7 percent of all revenues, and that segment alone grew by 9.6 percent to $933.4 million. Retail made up 21.9 percent of total revenues with 21.7 percent growth to $293.1 million. For the three months, sales to Europe rose by 10.8 percent; to the U.S. by 7.4 percent; and to Asia by 19.8 percent.

Looking ahead, the company said that the first two months of the third quarter saw a 17.6 percent increase in sales to $1.01 billion, and it expected a boost in footwear manufacturing because of its customers’ advertising during the World Cup. Yue Yuen said its business outlook was somewhat better than a year ago, based on dependable orders from its brand-name footwear customers.