Union heavyweight Paul Howes steps down; Kathmandu profits up with big jump online: Midday Roundup

Australian Workers’ Union secretary Paul Howes has confirmed his resignation this morning, as he’s prepared to step down from his role in July.

Howes said in a statement he will resign from the position he’s held for seven years.

“I have always been aware that you never own this job; you only serve as custodian … I know my decision may come as a surprise. But I was elected to this role seven years ago, at 26 years of age. I left school at 14, and commenced fulltime work in the union movement at 17,” he says.

Rumours have circulated Howes could pursue a political career, however he denied these reports this morning.

“I have always said that representing the AWU’s members is the highest honour I can imagine seeking. And so, despite what you may hear, I am not leaving this job to pursue a seat in parliament,” he says.

“For some time now I have been contemplating the next steps in my life. And as such I recognise the right thing to do is to step down.”

Kathmandu profits up with big jump in online

Outdoor apparel retailer Kathmandu has posted a net profit after tax of NZ$11.4 million, for the six months to January 31, up 10.7% on the previous corresponding period figure of NZ$10.33 million.

Its revenue was $NZ167.64 million, up 1% on the previous corresponding period figure of NZ $165.92 million.

Kathmandu Holdings chief executive officer Peter Halkett said the first half result was achieved through continuing strong same store sales growth, combined with improved gross margins and effective management of costs.

In the period, same store sales growth was up 5.4% at comparable exchange rates, and down 3.5% at actual exchange rates. Online sales grew by 49% at comparable exchange rates.

Shares down on open

Aussie shares have opened lower this morning, as caution over the Ukraine crisis remains.

The S&P/ASX200 fell 9.7 points on open to 5328.4 at 12:10pm AEDT. Overnight on Friday the Dow Jones closed 28.28 points lower, down 0.17% to 16,302.77.


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