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Briscoe posts record annual profit on rising sales, shares gain

Friday 9th March 2012

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Briscoe Group, the homeware and sporting goods retailer, posted a record full-year profit as it boosted sales across its brands and kept costs in check. The shares climbed 2 percent.

Profit rose 27 percent to $27.5 million in the 12 months ended Jan.31, the company said in a statement. Sales for the year rose 4.5 percent to $438 million and were up 8 percent on a same store basis. Gross profit margin slipped to 39.52 percent from 39.77 percent as retailers battled for sales in a tepid market.

“This result continues the strong profit growth produced by the group for the previous two years and reflects a range of initiatives implemented during that time,” managing director Rod Duke said. “Constant focus on inventory management, cost control, promotional planning and operational structure has delivered this consistency in growth and reflects the importance we place on managing the basics of our business, especially important during tough economic times.”

The shares rose 3 cents to $1.50 in trading today, and have climbed 8.9 percent this year.

The board lifted the final dividend payment to 6.5 cents per share from 6 cents a year earlier.

Duke said Briscoe expects to strengthen its position in the sector this year, though the retailing environment “will continue to be difficult and volatile.”

The group’s homeware stores boosted sales 2.7 percent to $294.4 million and pretax earnings rose 6.9 percent to $26.2 million, even as it closed six Living & Giving stores and one Briscoe outlet.

The number of Rebel Sport outlets was unchanged at 32, and sales of sporting goods climbed 8.3 percent to $143.6 million with pretax earnings up 30 percent to $9.2 million.

Duke said the Rugby World Cup helped its Rebel Sport brand perform “exceedingly well” in the third quarter on sales of licensed merchandise.

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