JB Hi-Fi meets profit, optimistic for H2
JB Hi-Fi has posted record interim sales after customers scooped up the retailer's gadget and entertainment offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total sales soared almost 24 per cent to $4.9 billion in the six months ended December, driven by strong in-store and online growth in the Australian market.
This helped JB Hi-Fi meet its forecast for an 86.2 per cent rise in first-half net profit to $317.7 million.
CEO Richard Murray described it as "an extraordinary period".
"We remain excited by the outlook for the business."
Most sales were in the consumer electronic and home appliances categories.
The Australian JB Hi-Fi business saw online sales growth of more than 200 per cent in the half.
Mr Murray was asked during a call with analysts whether the surging online sales may prompt the company to reduce costs by closing stores.
He said he felt comfortable the store network was sustainable.
Most stores had turnover of $20 million, he said.
"They generate good earnings and we want to ensure they remain relevant," he said.
"That's probably why you haven't seen a lot of new stores in recent years."
He said customers bought more goods when they visited a store, compared to shopping online.
Overseas, retailers were preferring customers collect goods at stores, as running big distribution centres for online sales was hard, according to Mr Murray.
He said stock shortages had been a constant challenge for 12 months.
Coronavirus precautions and restrictions have stymied product distribution from overseas, amid high demand.
The PlayStation 5, released last year, is one such product. The retailer has stopped taking orders for the console.
The sales momentum has continued into January and JB Hi-Fi is tipping further growth between 14.1 per cent and 21.7 per cent across its Australian and New Zealand businesses.
The outlook for its Good Guys whitegoods subsidiary is also solid following sales growth of 26.4 per cent in the first half.
Short coronavirus lockdowns in Victoria and Auckland, which began on Sunday and Monday respectively, will affect sales.
Chief financial officer Nick Wells said the company on Monday had 90 stores shut due to these government orders.
Investors will be rewarded with a spike in the interim dividend payout to $1.80 per share, from 90 cents in the final half of 2019/20.
Shares were higher by 2.81 per cent to $52.32 at 1151 AEDT.
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