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Briscoe posts record annual profit after lifting sales, widening margins

Thursday 7th March 2013

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Briscoe Group, the homeware and sports goods retailer controlled by managing director Rod Duke, said annual profit rose 11 percent to a record as sales gained more than costs, allowing the company to lift its dividend.

Profit rose to $30.5 million in the 12 months ended Jan. 27, from $27.5 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 3.3 percent to $472.7 million.

Briscoe's gross margin widened to 40.01 percent from 39.52 percent, which the company attributed to its focus on inventory management and a stronger kiwi dollar, which reduces costs of imported goods. It will pay a final dividend of 7 cents a share, making 11 cents for the year, up from 10 cents a year earlier.

"We are not counting on any significant changes during this year to the overall economic retailing environment and anticipate it will continue to be very competitive," Duke said. The company is "pleased with the start we have made to our financial year," he said, without giving details.

Briscoe's market capitalisation is $480.8 million, big enough to be included in the NZX 50 Index if not for Duke's 78 percent stake, which limits trading in the shares. The stock rose 3.5 percent to $2.38 on the NZX today and has gained 50 percent in the past 12 months.

Earnings before interest and tax at its flagship Briscoes and Living & Giving homeware stores rose 12 percent to $29.3 million in the latest year, as sales climbed 4.3 percent to $$307 million.

Its Rebel Sport chain recorded a 13 percent gain in earnings to $10.4 million as sales rose 1.4 percent to $145.7 million.

Duke said the performance of the Rebel outlets was encouraging given it was cycling off year-earlier results boosted by the Rugby World Cup. Same-store sales rose 0.5 percent and its gross profit margin rose to 39.42 percent from 38.66 percent.

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