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‘Thrilling’ first-half sales set Briscoe Group on course for strong profit

Briscoe Group says it expects its half-year profit to surge 64 per cent after reporting strong sales growth for the six months to August. 

Sales for the period reached $358.4 million – up 22.58 per cent year on year. In its homewares business, turnover rose by 20.77 per cent and in its Rebel Sport chain by 25.66 per cent.  

Even after comparing this year’s figures with the first-half results of two years ago – prior to the arrival of Covid-19 – sales this year were up by 18.3 per cent.  

“We’re thrilled with these sales numbers including the performance of our online channel which represents approximately 16 per cent of group sales for this first half,” said Briscoe Group MD Rod Duke. “Two years ago, just under 11 per cent of group sales were delivered by online operations for the first half.”

During the first quarter of last year, sales were impacted by 50 days of store closures due to the level-4 lockdown before the second quarter was positively impacted by an unprecedented post-lockdown demand which continued through the year.

“Gross margin has continued to be very strong for the group, delivering ahead of expectations,” said Duke. “We continue to improve the way in which we analyse and construct promotional activity and also how we manage the flow of inventory through the business.”

Based on the results of the first six months’ trading, Briscoe Group now expects half-year net profit to be at least $46 million, up 64 per cent on last year, but Duke said it was too early to make a full-year forecast. 

“Last year’s second half had significant benefit from the continued pent-up demand post-lockdown and also included an additional week as a result of the group realigning its financial and calendar year-ends. However, we are confident of producing another very strong full-year result and the board intends to provide some full-year guidance as part of the group’s half-year results announcement.”

That announcement is scheduled to be made on September 14. 

Duke said that while consumer demand has continued to be supportive, a number of the company’s strategic initiatives relating to merchandise and supply-chain processes have enhanced both sales and gross profit margin. 

“Significant preparatory work by our merchandise team in anticipating international supply chain disruptions – including factory delays, lack of shipping availability, port disruptions and increased costs – has resulted in a very healthy inventory position at half-year. Inventories will close higher than in recent years, putting us in great shape for the second half to avoid being hindered by shortages we have already seen occurring across the wider retail market.”

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