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Michael Hill First-Quarter Sales Rise 12.8% on Demand

Michael Hill International Ltd., New Zealand’s biggest specialty jeweler, said first-quarter sales rose 12.8 percent amid a recovery in consumer demand from the year earlier.

Sales increased to NZ$95.4 million ($72 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30 from the year earlier, the Brisbane-based company said in a statement. Australian store sales increased 11 percent and New Zealand sales rose 19 percent.

“The corresponding quarter in 2009 was still feeling the effects of the global financial crisis however the company is still very satisfied with the gains made in all markets,” the company said. The second quarter is “the most critical trading period for the group” and will largely determine the full-year result, it said.

Sales across all U.S. stores fell 21.5 percent after the company closed eight of its 17 outlets in June to reduce losses, the company said. Sales in the remaining nine stores increased 26.5 percent.

Michael Hill shares rose 3 cents, or 4.4 percent, to 71 New Zealand cents at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington, the biggest gain in six weeks.

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