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JB Hi-Fi investing in work culture, sustainability following record year

JB Hi-Fi has delivered another strong year despite the continuation of lockdowns and trading restrictions, with total sales rising 12.6 per cent to $8.9 billion and net profit for the year hitting $506 million – a 67.4 per cent growth.

Unsurprisingly, the business’ online sales also jumped 78.1 per cent to $1.06 billion in a year where most customers were more comfortable than ever before ordering online.

Incoming group chief executive Terry Smart thanked JB Hi-Fi’s employees for working to deliver another record result.

“Our continued focus on the customer, combined with the strength and competitive advantage of our multicultural offer, be it in-store, online or over the phone, has enabled us to seamlessly meet out customers’ increased demand,” Smart said.

Trading in Australia rose 12 per cent, while online grew 93 per cent, off the back of enhanced demand for products in the communications, computers, games hardware, visual and small appliances categories.

New Zealand stores saw sales grow 17.4 per cent, while online sales rose 35.6 per cent – far less than Australia, but not surprising considering New Zealand spent much less time in lockdown over the past 12 months.

The Good Guys also saw sales growth at 13.7 per cent, while online sales grew 48.5 per cent.

Tackling a culture of discrimination

And, after a RAFFWU investigation into the business found it had cultivated an endemic culture of “gender discrimination and sexual harassment”, JB Hi-Fi is seeking to expand a number of its diversity and inclusion programs in the coming year.

Firstly, the business will launch a ‘group diversity and inclusion action plan’ with a focus on increasing the number of women in leadership positions across JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys. According to JB Hi-Fi, 45 team members have worked through the women in leadership program, and it aims to bring a further 16 through next year.

The group also reviewed and improved its ‘Group Equal Opportunity and Workplace Behaviour Policy’, and is rolling out communications and training to support its team members to address or escalate situations that leaves them feeling “uncomfortable or unsafe” at work.

The RAFFWU report found that eighty-three per cent of respondents claimed they had personally experienced or witnessed talk of hiring women based on their looks or appearance, comments about the bodies of women staff or customers, or use of words such as “bitchy” or “bossy” to refer to women staff.

Net-zero goal by 2030

The business has also set out its plan to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 through a combination of energy reduction and efficiency measures at its stores, warehouses and support offices, as well as future investments in renewable energy sources, such as the implementation of solar panels.

In fact, the business has established an ‘energy and emissions working group’ which will investigate the role solar power generation can play in the business moving forward, and how it can help to hit its net-zero goal.

“The business is committed to increasing its utilisation of renewable energy with a focus on the installation of solar power generators across both the store and home delivery centre networks,” the group said in its second annual sustainability report, released alongside its FY21 trading update.

The business plans to have a further 15 stores utilising solar power generation by the end of 2021, with one already installed at its Chadstone Homemaker Centre store.

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