A pleasing response by customers to new Spring and Summer ranges and the replacement of wholesale supply arrangements with retail outlets in the department stores has delivered a strong sales performance in the first 13 weeks of trading for the 2007-2008 financial year. In his address to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in Melbourne, Chief Executive Officer Ian Moir said that total sales for the first 13 weeks of trading were 25.3% up on the corresponding period last year. Whilst the conversion of wholesale sales to retail sales in the department stores contributed to the uplift, sales in stand alone retail stores grew by 17.5%. “Given that last year we saw growth in our stand alone retail stores of 27.2% in the same period, this is a particularly encouraging result, and is indicative of the continued success of our strategy. It is also pleasing that all divisions are performing well and are showing double digit growth on last year.” Country Road has opened three new stores and completed one expansion/ refurbishment during the first quarter of trading, with two new stores and one more expansion/refurbishment due for completion prior to the end of November. “Whilst the forward momentum is strong and the first quarter result pleasing, we are heading into the most significant trading period of the year. At this point, we expect sales and profit before tax to continue to grow on last year.” Ends