Michael Hill shares nearing 4-year high

Michael Hill said he was pleased to see his company's largest market, Australia, lift its performance this year. Photo / Supplied
Michael Hill said he was pleased to see his company's largest market, Australia, lift its performance this year. Photo / Supplied

Shares in Michael Hill International are heading towards a four-year high after the listed jewellery maker lifted first-quarter revenue by 14 per cent on improved trading in North American and Australia.

Shares in the Brisbane-based company are up 4.4 per cent trading at $1.18, just below the September 23 four-year high of $1.20. The stock has gained 32 per cent this year and is rated an average 'outperform' based on the consensus of two analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters.

"The stock is going to go higher throughout the day - I wouldn't be surprised to see them break through $1.20," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"It is one of the best performing retail stocks on the market - there is huge potential with Canada and the US which are much larger markets than Australia and New Zealand."

Total sales climbed to $116.4 million in the three months ended September 30, from $101.8 million a year earlier, Michael Hill said in a statement. Same-store sales rose 8.5 per cent to $108 million.

Total Canadian sales jumped 29 per cent to $12.3 million, followed by Australia up 14 per cent to $78.9 million. US sales rose 10.6 per cent to $2.5 million and New Zealand sales increased 8 per cent to $22.7 million.

"All markets traded well over the first quarter and it was pleasing to see our largest market, Australia, lift its performance after a slowdown during 2011-12," chairman Michael Hill said. "The sales growth shown during the quarter was achieved without the need to reduce margins."

In August, the company posted a 5.8 per cent increase in annual profit to $36.5 million as recovering sales in New Zealand, Canada and the US made up for shrinking revenue in Australia, which is the current financial year's focus.

- BusinessDesk

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