Pan-Asian retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings saw earnings slide in the first half as the “difficult” markets of Malaysia and Singapore weighed on margins.

Net profit in the six months to the end of June fell 6% to US$229m. Operating profit was down 8.2% to $257.7m.

Dairy Farm said Hong Kong in particular “performed well” but added the “difficult markets” of Malaysia and Singapore led to increased costs and reduced margins, resulting in a “modest” decline in earnings.

The retailer, however, said it delivered “solid” like-for-like sales growth in most major businesses, with group sales up 7% to $5.1bn.

“While trading conditions remain challenging in some areas, progress is being made in addressing margin pressures and the group continues to invest for long-term growth in all its key businesses. After a weaker first half, the outlook is for a modest improvement in the remainder of the year,” said chairman Ben Keswick.

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