Australia's Billabong posts loss but says turnaround 'gaining traction'

Billabong hat Image copyright EPA

Australian surfwear firm Billbabong has reported another annual loss but says its turnaround plan "is gaining traction".

Its net loss for the year to 30 June was 233.7m Australian dollars ($218.2m; £131.5m), an improvement from its loss of A$859.5m the previous year.

The company warned the changes underway "would take time to flow through to the bottom line, given the complexity of the turnaround".

Its shares ended the day down 3.5%.

Billabong has been struggling with declining sales and a number of attempts by potential suitors to buy the firm have failed.

"The turnaround is gaining traction. As said at the half year, we are at the early stages of a complex, difficult turnaround," said chief executive Neil Fiske.

"I am encouraged by the progress and tangible results we are starting to see in all seven parts of our turnaround programme. There's much more work to do and the road ahead remains challenging, " he added.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Neil Fiske, Billabong's chief executive, was appointed in September 2013

The company recorded sales growth in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, but said that its biggest market, the Americas, "accounted for all of the weakness in the group results", with a 9.9% fall in sales for the year.

It said the region was particularly hard hit by the period of corporate upheaval in 2013. The former president of Billabong America, Paul Naude, was part of a failed attempt to buy the company in December 2012. He left the company following the unsuccessful bid.

Last week, Billabong announce plans to sell its online store Swell, as well as its 51% stake in the web retailer SurfStitch.

Billabong has 4,000 staff worldwide and its products are distributed in the more than 100 countries.

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