Jeweller Chow Tai Fook H1 profit up 92.3 pct, beats forecast

Reuters

* First-half net profit hits $452.6 million

* Revenue rose 48.5 percent to HK$37.77 billion

* Same-store sales in China, HK, Macau show strong growth

HONG KONG, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Chow Tai Fook Jewellery GroupLtd, the world's largest jewellery retailer by marketvalue, posted a 92.3 percent rise in net profit for the sixmonths ended in September, thanks to falling gold prices andbuyers who ignored slower economic growth and a crackdown onluxury spending in China.

The Hong Kong-listed company, which competes with Cartier and Tiffany & Co, on Tuesday posted a netprofit of HK$3.51 billion ($452.63 million) for April-Septemberperiod. That compared to a HK$1.82 billion profit the sameperiod a year ago and an average forecast of HK$3.14 billionfrom eight analysts polled by Reuters.

China is set to overtake India as the top gold consumer thisyear and is already ahead on a rolling four-quarterbasis.

Chow Tai Fook, which also competes against smaller Luk Fook, said last month that it expected net profit for thesix-month period to jump significantly due to strong sales ofgold products and reduced effects of unrealised hedging losseson gold loans.

Revenue for the April-September period rose 48.5 percentyear on year to HK$37.77 billion. Overall same-store sales grew33.2 percent. China same-store sales grew 21.5 percent and HongKong, Macau and Taiwan same store sales grew 47 percent.

The company's same-store sales grew 48 percent in theApril-June quarter, with China surging 32 percent, while HongKong and Macau climbing 68 percent.

Luk Fook and smaller rival King Fook Holdings aredue to release their fiscal first half results later this week.

Chow Tai Fook shares have fallen 1.1 percent this year,lagging a 4.5 percent gain in the benchmark index.

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