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Billabong flags first-half earnings fall

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016

Surfwear retailer Billabong expects its earnings for the first six months of the 2017 financial year to be substantially lower than a year ago after poor weather dents sales in Australia and Europe.

Managing director Neil Fiske has told the company's annual general meeting that unseasonal weather has hurt Billabong's sales over the first four months of fiscal 2017.

Australia's surf retail market had been particularly in October, he said.

"However, as weather conditions have normalised, our trading has picked up substantially in November," Mr Fiske said.

"Based on trading to date, we expect first-half EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to be down substantially on the same period last year, due mostly to the weakness in the first four months in Australian and European retail."

However, Mr Fiske said full-year earnings for Billabong, which suffered a $23.7 million loss for 2015/16, were expected to be ahead of last year and in the range of $60 to $65 million EBITDA before significant items.

He said the group's US business was tracking well with positive comparable store sales, while the company was focusing on its three big brands - Billabong, RVCA and Element, cost cuts were being achieved by streamlining the business.

Billabong shares were up nine cents, or 8.29 per cent, at $1.175 at 1445 AEDT.

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