Edo van Elderen will leave Esprit at the end of July, after eight years with the company, where he has been acting since the Summer of 2006 as global executive director of retailing. He cites personal reasons. The Hong Kong-based group achieved a sales increase of to HK$18.527 billion (€1,599.9m-$2,375.9m) in the first half ended last Dec. 31, with gains of more than 20 percent in all the divisions, including shoes and leathergoods. Same-store sales went up by 7.9 percent. The operating margin rose from 21.0 to 21.7 percent, and the net profit margin increased from 16.4 to 17.8 percent. A further 60 stores will be opened in the second half of the financial year, which will be punctuated by promotional events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the company.