Warehouse Group, the country's largest listed retailer, beat its first-half profit forecast as investments over the past few years started to bear fruit.
The Auckland-based company said profit adjusted for one-time items rose 22 per cent to $45.6 million in the 26 weeks ended January 31, above its forecast profit of $43 million to $45 million. Revenue rose 8.4 per cent to $1.57 billion, a gain of 7.1 per cent when adjusted for the impact of a later finish to the current half, which included extra back-to-school trading.
Warehouse, known for its distinctive 'red shed' big barn discount retail stores, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars overhauling its outlets and buying new businesses to drive future growth in the past few years.
That investment is flowing through to earnings in the latest period, with operating profit margins growing across The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7, helping lift the total retail group's operating profit margin by 90 basis points to 4.9 per cent.
"This result, building on the solid performance in the second half of last financial year, shows that the company is delivering on profit growth and on driving returns from the investments made in past years," chair Ted van Arkel said in the statement.
We are confident that the team, under (new group chief executive) Nick Grayston's leadership, will continue to grow sustainable profitability.
"The outlook for the second half will build on this positive start to the financial year but recognises some of the challenges ahead; notably ongoing currency-driven input cost increases and the fact that there is one week less in the trading period compared to last year."
Warehouse expects full-year profit excluding one-time items of $61 million to $64 million, which would be up between 7-to-12 per cent on last year.
The company expects to pay a full-year dividend of 16 cents a share, comprised of a first-half dividend of 11 cents to be paid on April 15, and a final dividend of 5 cents.
See the full-year results here: