- Dairy Farm International Holdings said a challenging Chinese New Year and the absence of the extra leap-year trading day seen in 2016 led to sales for the Group's subsidiaries in the first quarter being slightly below the prior year.

However, the Company added that there were improved operating margins in certain businesses that offset the soft sales and led to a modest increase in operating profits.

In today's trading statement, Dairy Farm commented:

"In the Food Division, sales for the first quarter of 2017 were marginally positive in Greater China but declined in Southeast Asia, with overall operating profits being below last year. Both the Health and Beauty and Home Furnishings Divisions produced higher sales and operating profits.

"Key associates, Maxim's and Yonghui, delivered good sales and profit growth for the period, and their contributions to the Group were ahead of the prior year.

"Overall, the Group's underlying earnings for the first quarter were slightly ahead of the same period last year, and the outlook is for trading conditions to continue to be broadly similar."

At 1:05pm:

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