Hong Kong -- Asian-based apparel retailer Esprit reported Thursday a net profit of $71.6 million for the six months ended December, beating Wall Street estimates. The retailer said it remains on track to close its directly managed stores in North America by end-March 2012 and will continue to look for a licensing partner. Esprit had reported earlier it was in the process of closing its stores here and would close all its outlets in North America if it failed to find a partner to take care of the business.

Clothing retailer Esprit, struggling to recover from last year's 98 percent earnings slump, plans to close all stores in North America after failing to find a buyer for the unprofitable business.

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