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Briscoe's Duke 'cautiously optimistic' for 2010 after surge in annual profit

Tuesday 9th March 2010

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Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke said he is “cautiously optimistic” for trading in 2010 after the company almost doubled its annual profit by fattening its margins.

The operator of Briscoe, Rebel Sport and Living & Giving stores today posted an 81% jump in profit to $21 million for the 12 months ended January 31, confirming the increase in earnings it flagged on February 5. Sales rose 7.3% to $41.7 million.

“Although the economic indicators are still difficult to read we are cautiously optimistic that we will continue to build on the improvements in operating and financial performance we made through 2009-10,” Duke said in a statement.

Shares of Briscoe, which is controlled by Duke, last traded at $1.35 and have advanced 91% in the past 12 months. The retailer gave senior managers more direct control of stores or groups of stores and the opportunity to benefit when profits increased. Its gross profit margin widened to 39.9% from 38.6% a year earlier.

Duke reiterated that the performance of the Living & Giving stores was “less than satisfactory” and Briscoe took a $1.03 million impairment charge in its full year, adding to an $830,000 charge in the first half.

The company will pay a final dividend of 5 cents a share with a record date of March 24, up from 3.5 cents a year earlier.

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