Underwear's A Bright Note, But Retailer Pacific Brands In For a Tough Year

Iconic Australian labels Bonds, Hush Puppies and King Gee are in for tough year with retailer Pacific Brands reporting its business running hard but remaining still.

“We have made significant progress this year but, with the market conditions, it has at times felt like we have been running to simply stand still,” CEO John Pollaers told the company’s annual general meeting.

“I know I am not alone in this feeling, having spoken to my peers in the industry.”

Pollaers, who’s been in the job just 12 months, says market conditions have been challenging with no near term signs of improvement.

“The economy is yet to regain its strength and consumers are yet to regain the confidence lost during the global financial crisis,” he says.

“FY14 will be a year of hard work as we continue to navigate through a difficult and, in many ways, unpredictable consumer and economic environment.”

It is likely first half results to the end of December will be down due to trading conditions along with increased investment and a continued downturn in the workwear market particularly in the industrials sector.

However, there are some brighter notes including key underwear brands, such as Bonds and Berlei, which grew by nearly 13 per cent in the 2013 financial year.

Pacific Brands shares at midday were down 3.36 per cent to 72 cents.

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