The latest: Sportswear retailer Anta Sports Products Ltd. (2020.HK) announced on Wednesday that retail sales of its Anta-branded products fell by a high single-digit amount in last year’s fourth quarter, while its Fila-branded products recorded a low-teens percentage decline.

Looking up: While its two core brands declined, combined retail sales of Anta’s other brands, which include Descente and Kolon Sport, grew by low-teens percentages in the fourth quarter.

Take Note: Like other traditional retailers, Anta was forced to temporarily close many of its brick-and-mortar stores at various times last year to comply with local pandemic control measures. Such closures were particularly brutal in the months of October and November.

Digging Deeper: China’s repeated Covid outbreaks last year led to frequent store closures in major cities such as Shanghai, where many of Anta’s outlets are located. But with China’s abandonment of its “zero Covid” policy in early December, the retail industry has started to rebound. Anta Chairman Ding Shizhong said the company is prepared to seize growth opportunities as the central and local governments take steps to revive the market.

Market Reaction: Anta shares rose 5.2% in early trading on Thursday, but later gave back most of those gains and closed up 1.4% at HK$111.20 by the midday break. They now trade at the upper end of their 52-week range.

Translation by Jony Ho

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