NZ retailer makes gains

Briscoe Group, the homewares and sports goods retailer, has posted an 11 per cent gain in first-half profit, saying its marketing strategy is boosting its share of a tough retail sector.

Profit rose to $10.3 million in the six months ended July 31, from $9.28 million in the same period of 2010, excluding a year-earlier tax adjustment.

Sales rose 2.1 per cent to $194 million and climbed 4.4 per cent on a same-store basis.

MD, Rod Duke, said Briscoe was able to widen its gross margin percentage to 39.97 per cent from 39.94 per cent on “a strong buying and inventory management performance given the challenges of a very late winter season and the continued competitiveness across the retail industry in general”.

In dollar terms, sales growth was evenly split between homewares, which rose 1.5 per cent to $128 million, and sports goods, up 3.4 per cent to $64 million. Same-store sales rose by 4.4 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively.

Briscoe will pay a first-half dividend of 3.5 cents a share, up from three cents a year earlier.

Inventory fell to $63 million at July 31 from $68.7 million a year earlier, reflecting a reduction in store numbers and a “continued strong focus on inventory management”.

Duke said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the performance for the second half of the year though the uncertain economic environment made it difficult to provide a forecast.

BusinessDesk

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