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JB Hi Fi Profits UP 3%

JB Hi Fi Profits UP 3%

Sales soared 3.1% to $1.82 billion for JB for the six months to 31 December 2012 (HY13), as online sales spike 40%.

The retailer now has web visitor numbers swelling to 1 million weekly – up a massive 31%.

Net profit also soared 3% to $82.1m compared to $79.6 m the same time a year ago. JB Hi-Fi January sales grew a whopping 12%, it said today.

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Total sales for the Group grew 2.3%, although comparable store sales fell 3.5% due to a drop in TV categories in its newer stores, including North Sydney.

JB opened 11 new stores in the period.

Sales in its new commercial division grew a staggering 44% in HY13.

JB Hi-Fi CEO, Terry Smart, said “we are pleased with the result, with total sales growing and the improved gross margin resulting in NPAT growth over the prior period.

“Whilst we continue to see total sales growth, the Visual (TV) category in particular negatively impacted comparative store growth.”

Company shares soared over 12% to $12.3 today following the earnings announcement.

JB reported “strong” online sales, which now represent 2% of total sales – up from 1.5%. JB earnings (EBIT) also rose $3m to to $123.7 million.

Gross margin rose 0.3% to 21.5% but “aggressive discounting across the market” did hit margins, Smart admitted. Cost of doing business rose slightly to 13.8%. 

“The industry has seen TV sales decline over the past few years as the category moves towards a more typical replacement driven sales market,” Smart said, adding “market share [is] growing solidly.”

However, comparative stores are seeing an improved trend in transactions and are enjoying “positive growth” and its new JB Hi-FI Home stores and Appliance category are seeing growth with “no adverse effect on the traditional product categories.”

The company will open 15 new stores this year, with a stated target of 214 by 2014, which should lead to “solid” future growth.

JB sales soared almost 12% in January, which Smart said was a “positive start to the New Year”. Comparative sales were up 4.2%.

“January gross margin has improved on last year as we cycle the significant market-wide promotional period from last year.”

The Company expects sales in FY13 to be circa $3.25 billion and NPAT within the range of $108 m-$112.0 m.

However, comparable store sales in FY13 are expected to drop 3% and gross margin the same as HY13 at 21.5%

“In the second half of FY12, we saw aggressive discounting across the market which, while driving sales, did impact gross margin. As we cycle this period we anticipate sales growth may be more challenging, but this should be offset by a relatively stable gross marginenvironment” said Smart.

However, JB’s boss believes its sales formula is a winner:

“The ability to leverage our high traffic locations, low cost of doing business, low prices across the full range of categories and continued focus online, will ensure ongoing maximisation of sales and earnings growth opportunities.”

The directors have declared a fully franked interim dividend of 50 cents per share, to be paid on 8 March 2013.