Giordano International Chairman Peter Lau told Bloomberg the clothing chain would buy retail properties or possibly merge into an acquiring one to drive growth and expand into new markets. The mainland, where Giordano has nearly 600 stores, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore account for up to 80% of chain profit, but competitors like Baleno brand owner Texwinca Holdings and Bossini International Holdings have taken away market share in its key markets, according to Deutsche Bank. Giordano's sales fell 6% to US$435 million last year, a slide the company blamed on SARS. Profit in 2003 fell 19% year on year, to US$34 million. Lau said Giordano's strong sourcing capability could help cement a partnership with a US retailer after garment quotas are lifted January 1, 2005, possibly cutting a US retailer's cost by as much as 15%.