Briscoe posts another record profit

briscoeBriscoe Group lifted annual profit 26 per cent to deliver another record profit as the homeware and sporting goods chain bolstered fatter margins with a gain on the sale of a Hastings property and dividends from Kathmandu Holdings.

Net profit rose to $59.4 million, or 26.5 cents per share, in the 52 weeks ended January 29 from $47.1 million, or 21.2c, a year earlier when its balance date included an extra week, the Auckland-based retailer said in a statement.

The retailer widened gross margins to 41.07 per cent from 40.49 per cent in 2015 and 38.9 per cent the year before, which managing director Rod Duke said reflected Briscoe’s focus on inventory and promotion management.

“The relatively late start to summer and unsettled weather patterns in most parts of the country made the selling of seasonal products a little tougher, but by identifying the issues quickly and holding our nerve, we have sold through seasonal stocks at an acceptable rate, protecting both margin and our closing inventory position,” Duke said.

Briscoe’s board declared a final dividend of 11c per share, payable on March 31, taking the annual payout to 18c, up from 15.5c last year and 14c the year earlier.

Duke said retailing is still a tough environment with a number of rivals struggling, but that Briscoe is still “cautiously optimistic” about the upcoming year.

Briscoe’s bottom line was also bolstered by $4.4 million in dividends from its 19.9 per cent stake in outdoor equipment chain Kathmandu.

Kathmandu’s board rebuffed a Briscoe takeover offer in 2015.

Briscoe increased online sales by more than 40 per cent, and they accounted for six per cent of the retailer’s $582.8 million in revenue.

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