Australian-owned retail chains JB Hi-Fi and Super Retail Group have reported bumper first-half earnings following a year of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The electronics retailer reported sales growth of 23.7 per cent over the past six months and a 160 per cent jump in its online sales to A$678.8 million.
In the six months to December 31, the group posted preliminary unaudited revenue of A$4.9 billion and a 86 per cent increase in net profit after tax to A$317m.
Sales in New Zealand increased by 9 per cent in the period while those in Australia more than doubled that, up by 23 per cent.
About 14 per cent of JB Hi-Fi's sales came from its online channel while 86 per cent came from in-store purchases in the period.
JB Hi-Fi said sales in the period were driven by strong demand for consumer electronics and home appliances.
In a note from Jarden, analysts said there were "several positives" ahead for the retailer, although it downgraded its stock rating to "neutral" from what was previously "outperform".
"All divisions benefited from strong sales growth through the period. Gross margin expanded for The Good Guys and the usual mix impact offset gross margin improvements at the category level in JBH Australia and New Zealand," outlined in the note.
"Whilst clearly these results reflect a unique set of circumstances and therefore should not simply be extrapolated, we do argue that permanent changes (work from home) and that the reallocation of income away from domestic activities will be drawn out; hence we have greater confidence in FY22 earnings than the market.
"We also note that the benefit of this period's strong trading results in a significantly under‐levered balance sheet and that therefore shareholders are likely to be rewarded with a stronger dividend and an off-market buyback is increasingly likely."
JB Hi-Fi's shares increased 3.8 per cent or by $1.93 following the results announcement yesterday, closing at a record high of $52.70.
Super Retail Group
Super Retail Group enjoyed a record result in its first-half, with group sales increasing by 23 per cent and online sales up almost 90 per cent.
The outdoor retail group, which operates retail chains Supercheap Auto, Rebel, Macpac and Boating Camping and Fishing (BCF), said its bumper result was driven by "unprecedented" demand and record online sales through the Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales weekend.
It posted a preliminary record net profit after tax of $170-173m in the six months to December 26, while its e-commerce sales hit A$237m - increasing at all of its retail chains.
Supercheap Auto sales grew 20 per cent, while online sales grew 46 per cent, Rebel sales increased by 15 per cent and 102 per cent online, and BCF sales grew by 51 per cent and 113 per cent online.
Macpac's overall sales fell 5 per cent, despite its online sales increasing by 94 per cent.
Super Retail Group managing director and chief executive, Anthony Heraghty, said the group remained cautious for the outlook for it second-half given the uncertain economic environment, but was pleased with its first-half performance.
"The operating leverage which the group has been able to achieve during a period of robust online sales growth clearly reinforces the profitability of our digital sales and, in particular, the scalability of our omni-retail platform," Heraghty said.
The group said it would return the A$1.7m it received in jobseeker wage support from the Australian government.
Jarden analysts said they had "greater confidence" in the company's FY22 earnings "than the market" as they believed that the re-opening of borders would be drawn out.
Super Retail Group has a market capitalisation of A$2.67b.