Accent Group Ltd (ASX: AX1) upgraded its profit guidance for the first half of its 2019 financial year to be 15% to 20% higher than last year.

Accent Group Ltd is a footwear retailer that was founded in 1981. It is best known in Australia for its network of The Athlete’s Foot stores. It now operates a variety of footwear & fashion chains including Platypus, Skechers, Hype, Vans, Timberland, Merrell and Dr Martens.

Accent Group upgrades earnings guidance

Management now expect EBITDA for the first half of the current 2019 financial year to be 15% to 20% above the same period last year (click here to learn what EBITDA means).

The company was pleased to report that the first 20 weeks of FY19 have been, “materially stronger than expected.”

Like for like sales were up 2.5% and on track with expectations, whilst digital sales were stronger than expected – up 88% on the prior year.

The company is now planning to open 40 stores during FY19 instead of 30, plus those new stores are trading ahead of expectations.

Accent Group also reported that it has achieved a better gross margin than expected which is 3% more than last year so far.

The foot retailer is also buying backing The Athlete’s Foot stores, it currently has 39 under control and plans to have around 50 by the end of the year.

CEO Daniel Agostinelli Accent Group said: “We are delighted with the results achieved for the first 20 weeks of FY19…The outlook for H2 FY19 has not changed and the Group is still targeting mid-single EBITDA growth”.

In FY18 Accent generated underlying EBITDA of $90.8 million.

Since 1 January 2018, the Accent Group share price has risen 31% at the pre-open price of $1.10, according to Google Finance.

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