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Briscoe is looking for growth opportunities

Thursday 20th May 2010

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Briscoe Group remains in a strong financial position and is keen to expand its key homewares and sporting goods businesses as well as expand into new geographical areas, according to company executives at today's annual meeting.

"Our research tells us that retailers that continue to focus on their core business, and execute well, are outperforming those, whose response to softer sales, has been to move into new, and less familiar territory," Managing Director Rod Duke told shareholders.

"My view, is that shoppers will continue to spend with caution, even as they begin to feel more financially secure. And that means that times, will continue to be tough for retailers. Consumers are no longer expanding their wallets to accommodate their every want. Rather, they’re restricting spending to fit their budgets. They’re having to make choices. But unlike in the recent past, the critical choice is which item to buy, not which credit card to use."

In the year ended January, Briscoe Group sales increased to $416.69 million from a year earlier $388.47 million. On a same-store basis, sales increased for the year by 4.7% over 2008-09.

"The group remains in a strong financial position to weather the ongoing volatile economic environment. Indeed with no debt and a strong cash balance it continues to be favorably positioned to take advantage of investment opportunities should they present as well as maximising organic growth opportunities that we believe would improve shareholder wealth," Chairman Rosanne Meo said.

Meo said the board "is keen to pursue further growth initiatives for the homewares and sporting goods operations and to extend the group's reach into new geographical areas. Opportunities for further expansion through acquisition or store rollout will continue to be evaluated on the basis of their potential to add value to Briscoe Group and its shareholders."

Meo said the directors approved the final dividend payment date as the 31 March 2010, earlier than in previous years, to take advantage of the ability to impute the final dividend at 33% rather than the reduced 30% rate that now applies to any dividends paid after 31 March 2010. "We are yet to determine our future year final dividend payment date."

As for what lies ahead in today's federal budget, Meo was cautious in her comments. "The impact of today’s Budget is difficult to predict, particularly the impact on consumers’ behavior of the likely increase to GST and some reduction in personal tax rates."

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