Michael Hill sales surge

Townsville Bulletin - - BUSINESS DAILY -

Townsville MICHAEL Hill In­ter­na­tional re­ported a 6 per cent gain in full- year sales, re­flect­ing a net in­crease in new stores.

Canada was the jewellery re­tailer’s stand­out mar­ket in the lat­est year. Sales rose to $ 583 mil­lion in the 12 months ended June 30 from $ 549.9 mil­lion a year ear­lier, the Brisbane- based re­tailer said in a state­ment.

Open­ing new stores pro­vided the big­gest im­pe­tus to sales growth and same- store sales rose a more mod­est 1.5 per cent.

The re­tailer opened 13 of its Emma & Roe stores bring­ing the to­tal un­der that brand to 29 and opened 14 Michael Hill branded out­lets while clos­ing seven, leav­ing it with 304, and a to­tal num­ber of out­lets of 333.

The in­creased Emma & Roe meant sales jumped 62 per cent to $ 15 mil­lion, al­though on a same- store ba­sis, sales fell 1.9 per cent.

Michael Hill store sales rose 5 per cent to $ 568 mil­lion, or 1.5 per cent on a same- store ba­sis.

The com­pany didn’t re­lease earn­ings fig­ures yes­ter­day.

“Gross mar­gin will be slightly down for the year in part due to the tougher than ex­pected Aus­tralasian mar­ket and in part due to dis­count­ing of sur­plus in­ven­tory be­ing cleared to help fund our branded col­lec­tions roll­out,” it said.

“The seven Michael Hill stores closed dur­ing the year were all, ex­cept one, at the end of their lease terms and were no longer deemed to be com­mer­cially viable un­der our strict in­vest­ment guide­lines.”

In Canada, sales rose 19 per cent to $ C113 mil­lion ($ 119m), or 8.8 per cent on a same­store ba­sis.

“Michael Hill is now the sec­ond- largest jewellery re­tail chain in the Cana­dian mar­ket and con­tin­ues to take mar­ket share from the com­pe­ti­tion,” it said.

“Nine stores were opened dur­ing the pe­riod giv­ing a to­tal of 76 at the end of June.”

US sales fell 13 per cent to $ US12.4 mil­lion, or 13 per cent on a same- store ba­sis.

Its Eas­ton Cen­tre store in Colum­bus, Ohio, was closed in June be­cause of sus­tained poor per­for­mance with exit costs of $ US650,000 and its US busi­ness “con­tin­ued to strug­gle through­out the year”, it said.

New Zealand sales de­clined 0.7 per cent to $ 122 mil­lion, and fell 0.8 per cent on a same- store ba­sis, while in its big­gest mar­ket of Aus­tralia, sales rose 4.1 per cent to $ 322 mil­lion, and on a same- store ba­sis sales were up 1.2 per cent.

It opened three new stores in Aus­tralia and closed five un­der­per­form­ing out­lets, for a to­tal of 166.

SAT­IS­FIED CUS­TOMER: Michael Hills’ Are­zoo Darani with Mad­di­son Bar­bour. Pic­ture: TARA CROSER

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