Jewellery chain Michael Hill International expects first-half earnings to better last year’s efforts after sales grew by 10 per cent.

Michael Hill International, the jewellery chain that bears the name of its founder, expects first-half earnings to rise after reporting a 10 per cent lift in sales over the period.

Anticipated earnings before interest and tax were between $A29 million and $A30 million in the six months ended December 31 from $A28.6m a year earlier, the Brisbane-based NZX-listed jeweller said in a statement.

It comes after sales rose to $A270.8m across all its stores from $A246.3m in 2013.

The revenue gains were led by a 38 per cent increase in Michael Hill’s Canadian stores, which generated $A39.4m, up from $A28.5m.

New Zealand sales, when converted into local currency from the Australian dollar which the company reports earnings in, fell 4.1 per cent, to $NZ60.9m.

“Our New Zealand stores continued to struggle,” said the company in a statement on Thursday. “This fall in revenue for the half was in part due to the settling in of a new retail management team mid-2013. The company is confident this decline will be reversed in the coming months.”

In Australian dollar terms, New Zealand sales rose 8.2 per cent to $A49.7m. A weaker Australian dollar supported the group’s 10 per cent lift in revenue, which accelerated from an 8.7 per cent rise in the first quarter.

Michael Hill’s Australian revenue rose 5.5 per cent to $A171.7m, while US sales gained 3.8 per cent to $A5.5m.

The company said sales in the US had been affected by the severe winter conditions over the Christmas period.

Full half-year results will be released on February 14.

Shares in Michael Hill International were unchanged at $1.44, and have gained 18 per cent over the past 12 months.