JB Hi-Fi's first-half profit surges 21 per cent to $151.7 million

Scott Barbour  Getty Images

Scott Barbour Getty Images

JB Hi-Fi said half-year total sales rose 41 percent to A$3.69 billion, helped by strong audio device and drone sales in Australia.

JB Hi-Fi's rejigged strategy for its New Zealand business all but wiped out first-half earnings on this side of the Tasman as the discount consumer electronics chain shut one store and quit selling whiteware goods. While comparable sales rose 8.7%, total sales, earnings and gross margin deteriorated on the previous corresponding period.

The Good Guys business unit saw growth in categories including seasonal products, cooking, communications, visual and dishwashers.

But JB Hi-Fi's gross profit margins fell 20 basis points and its forecast for a full-year profit of between $235 million and $240 million - which would be up 15.5 per cent from last year - was as much as 3 per cent lower that the market was expecting.

The board declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 86 Australian cents per share, payable on March 9 with a February 23 record date.

"It was another strong result for the JB Hi-Fi business in Australia, particularly through the important November and December periods".

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One New Zealand store was closed with the company scraping its whitegoods business.

However, it suffered an online sales decline of 1.7% to $72.7 million (6.6% of total sales).

The closure impact to sales was NZ$4.6 million.

Total sales for JB Hi-Fi Australia grew 10.8 per cent to $2.48 billion with online sales growing 40.6 per cent to $119.3 million, representing 4.8 per cent of total sales.

It now has a total of 311 retail stores across Australia and New Zealand. The forecast indicates a 13% - 16% lift of underlying results, compared to the previous period. Both total and comparable sales for the Australian segment fell compared to January 2017, and sales from The Good Guys were particularly disappointing compared to the same month a year ago. The Good Guys in particular is a concern, as the division contributed 30% to total group sales for the period. JB Hi-Fi came in at No. 218, and is only the third Australian retailer to boast a place.

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