Clothing retailer Esprit plans to raise up to $677 million in a new share sale to rebuild its brand as part of a multibillion-dollar four-year transformation drive, a report said on Tuesday. Up to 655.8 million shares will be sold at a price of HK$8 ($1.03) each, a 36 percent discount from Monday\'s close of HK$12.44, Dow Jones Newswires said. If successful the firm could raise as much as HK$5.25 billion ($677 million). Esprit -- founded in San Francisco in 1968 and headquartered in Hong Kong -- has announced its exit from Spain, Denmark and Sweden to focus on Asia, especially China, as part of a transformation after it saw a 98-percent plunge in net profit last year. However, net profit for the year to June 30 jumped tenfold to HK$873 million ($112.59 million), from HK$79 million a year ago. The new focus is a change from its previous international expansion drive that former CEO Ronald Van der Vis, who suddenly resigned earlier this year, said had caused the company have \"lost its soul\". The retailer also closed 80 stores in North America last year. Funds raised from the new share sale will be used for \"refurbishing existing stores\", \"developing the supply chain\", and \"fuelling future expansion plans\", it said. The retailer hopes to expand to 400 cities in China, from a footprint in 191 cities currently. However, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets analyst Aaron Fischer warned that Esprit\'s decision to fund its transformation through a sale of new shares instead of taking on debt shows the \"high level of risk\" around the plan. While about 80 percent of Esprit\'s revenue comes from Europe, the Asia-Pacific region -- and specifically China -- is important to its turnaround plan. Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez, a former senior executive at Spanish clothing retailer Zara, was appointed chief executive in August.