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Briscoe Group third quarter sales increase 6.22%

Friday 7th November 2003

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The directors of Briscoe Group Limited announce that unaudited sales for the three months ended 31 October 2003 were $68.2 million, being 6.22% higher than the $64.2 million reported for the third quarter of last year.

On a same store basis, the group's sales for the quarter were 0.49% ahead of those for the third quarter of last year.

The gross margin percentage generated for the third quarter was below the margin for the same quarter last year, consistent with the reduction in margins experienced for the first two quarters of this financial year.

Briscoes Homeware sales increased 7.77% to $45.9 million and Rebel Sport sales rose 3.18% to $22.3 million.

The group added two new stores during the quarter with the opening of the Lower Hutt Briscoes Homeware and Rebel Sport stores in late September. Briscoes Homeware stores now number 29 with total store area of 58,522 sqm. Rebel Sport store numbers increased to 15 with total store area now at 31,783 sqm, including the extension to the Botany Downs store completed during August.

Further store openings are planned for Briscoes Homeware in Cambridge and for Rebel Sport in Porirua. Both stores are expected to open in December.

The October quarter sales figure takes unaudited group sales for the nine months ended 31 October 2003 to $209.1 million, a rise of 8.74% over the $192.3 million reported in the first nine months of last year. Briscoes Homeware sales increased 7.70% during this period, and Rebel Sport 11.12%.

Because of the move to calendar month end reporting, the first nine months of this year comprised four fewer trading days than last year. Adjusting for these four days and on a same store basis, the group's sales for the nine months ended 31 October 2003 were 6.21% ahead of the same period last year.

On a same store, same days basis, Briscoes Homeware sales increased by 8.38% over the first nine months of last year, while Rebel Sport sales increased by 1.21%.

The directors expect the competitive retail environment to continue throughout the remainder of the financial year. The response to the challenging market conditions continues to be the delivery of the Group's quality value proposition, with emphasis on store refurbishment, steady growth in the number of new stores, efficient management of stock and reinforcement of the branding of the Briscoes Homeware and Rebel Sport stores.

"We have resisted the 'buy market share - no matter what it costs' approach", said Mr Rod Duke, managing director of Briscoe Group Limited.
"We are very pleased with the new store opening programme for this year and extremely excited about a number of further opportunities for new stores and store upgrades which will happen next year."

Bond Offer: Infratil Ltd, 7.2 year & 10.2 year unsecured unsubordinated bond


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