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Esprit to exit Australia by year end

Global fashion retailer Esprit has announced it will cease its loss-making operations in Australia and New Zealand by the end of this calendar year.

The decision, announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday, will see the closure of 67 bricks-and-mortar locations, including 16 retail stores, 38 concession counters and 13 factory outlets, as well as a local e-commerce site.

Sales were approximately $50 million in the last financial year, representing slightly less than 2 per cent of the company’s global revenue.

“Esprit’s operations in Australia and New Zealand have been loss-making for some time, despite intensive efforts made by the teams in the past years to turnaround its business,” said Thomas Tang, executive director and group CFO for Esprit Holdings, in a statement.

Tang said the move will enable the company to concentrate efforts and resources to develop other markets in Asia.

The fashion retailer’s director of operations in Australia and New Zealand, Stephen Newnham, said the decision was “unfortunate but unavoidable”.

“Our thanks go to our highly committed, loyal and passionate employees, and to our customers who have support the Esprit brand. Until the last Esprit store closes in Australia and New Zealand, we will continue to serve our customers, and Esprit gift cards purchased will be honoured,” he said.

The retailer has been operating in Australia and New Zealand since the 1980s. It is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with headquarters in Germany and Hong Kong.

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