Michael Hill International has reported a 15 per cent earnings increase in its first-half results, despite losing around 20 per cent of its trading days to Covid restrictions on both sides of the Tasman and in Canada.
Revenue for the first half is estimated at $327.1 million with EBIT at $51.6 million and a lift of 240bps in gross margin.
Strategic investment has helped the brand boost the membership of its loyalty program to more than 1 million members, which helped boost digital-first sales by 37 per cent.
Same-store sales were up by 11 per cent, marking the 10th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth.
Omicron impacted foot traffic during January in Australia, challenging rostering and reduced store trading hours.
The group lost 7505 trading days during the half to lockdowns and Covid-related trading restrictions.
By geographic market, Michael Hill International’s sales were down by 7.8 per cent in Australia, by 3.3 per cent in New Zealand, but up by 23.6 per cent in Canada. Gross profit was down by 2.8 per cent in Australia, up by 0.5 per cent in New Zealand and up by 29.9 per cent in Canada.
Meanwhile, during the first eight weeks of trading in the second half, group same-store sales remained flat, but overall sales were up by 14 per cent and gross margins “remain strong”.
The company said it was “actively exploring new growth opportunities”.