Temple & Webster H1 earnings soar
Online furniture store Temple & Webster aims to offer 3D modelling and visual searching of its catalogue after it reported a 556 per cent rise in first-half earnings.
Management is keen to stay ahead of the pack in the burgeoning market, having on Tuesday reported first-half earnings were $14.8 million for the six months to December 31. Earnings were $2.3 million for the same 2019 period.
Temple & Webster wants to keep customers coming back and will this year provide new ways to see products before they arrive in homes.
One of these would be augmented reality.
Chief executive Mark Coulter said he wanted to provide 3D models of furniture and homewares so customers could see them in their homes.
"We could present you a room with your favourite items styled together, potentially," he said.
Camera technology in mobile phones would allow users to see furniture overlaid on an image of their chosen room.
The company also aims to allow customers to search by providing an image.
Mr Coulter said customers could take a photo of something they like and send it to Temple & Webster.
The company would search its catalogue for the item, or similar ones, and show the customer.
Mr Coulter wants to stay ahead in an Australian furniture and homewares market that is worth $14.6 billion, according to Euromonitor.
Online sales accounted for just $744 million, but Mr Coulter expects that to grow, as it has done in Europe and the US.
The company has been a major beneficiary of people focusing on home improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First-half sales climbed 118 per cent to $161.6 million.
While Australians may gradually come to grips living with the virus as vaccines are distributed, Mr Coulter said there were other changes in the company's favour.
Faster internet and mobile speeds, and more businesses closing shops and opting to trade online were some of these.
"We were a high-growth business pre-COVID," Mr Coulter said.
"This time last year we were growing at 50 per cent plus. COVID has accelerated the trends.
"I'm not saying we'll be growing at 100 per cent for many years to come, but if you take a long-term view, we will be high growth for many years to come."
January sales were more than 100 per cent better than the same month last year.
The company's figures have not yet been audited and Temple & Webster will provide statutory net profit figures in a couple of weeks.
The company issues its earnings earlier to try and attract investors before a slew of earnings reports from other companies.
RBA Capital Markets analyst Tim Piper said the result was a solid one but missed analysts' expectations.
He said the company was the market leader in online furniture and homewares in Australia and would continue to benefit from take-up of online shopping.
Shares closed lower by 4.62 per cent to $10.53.
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