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Briscoe Group first-half profit rises 11% on sales growth, fatter margins

Friday 9th September 2011

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Briscoe Group, the home-wares and sports goods retailer, posted an 11% gain in first-half profit and raised its dividend, saying its marketing strategy was boosting its share of a tough retail sector.

Profit rose to $10.3 million in the six months ended July 31, from $9.28 million in the same period of 2010, excluding a year-earlier tax adjustment. Sales rose 2.1% to $194 million and climbed 4.4% on a same-store basis.

Managing director Rod Duke, whose interests own 75% of the retailer’s stock, said Briscoe was able to widen its gross margin percentage to 39.97% from 39.94% on “a strong buying and inventory management performance given the challenges of a very late winter season and the continued competitiveness across the retail industry in general.”

In dollar terms, sales growth was evenly split between homewares, which rose 1.5% to $128 million, and sports goods, up 3.4% to $64 million. Same-store sales rose by 4.4% and 4.6% respectively.

Briscoe will pay a first-half dividend of 3.5 cents a share, up from 3 cents a year earlier. The shares haven’t yet traded today and were last at $1.36. They have edged up 2.2% this year.

Inventory fell to $63 million at July 31 from $68.7 million a year earlier, reflecting a reduction in store numbers and a “continued strong focus on inventory management.”

Duke said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the performance for the second half of the year though the uncertain economic environment made it difficult to provide a forecast.

“We believe we will see further uncertainty in consumer confidence which will result in continued difficult trading conditions for retailers,” Duke said.


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