Homeware and sporting goods company Briscoe Group reported a strong second-quarter lift in sales despite its stores being shut for 50 days over lockdown.
Total group sales for the NZX-listed company's first six months of the financial year to July 26 were down just 3.5 per cent to $292.4 following disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its second-quarter of the year, running April 27 to July 26, group sales were up 28.2 per cent to $195.4m compared to $152.3m the same time a year earlier. During this period its stores were closed just 17 days of the total 50 days.
Group online sales accounted for 23 per cent of all sales in the quarter, up from 11 per cent prior to the pandemic hitting home in New Zealand. Its online sales doubled in the first-half period.
Sales of homeware goods were up 25 per cent in the quarter and sporting goods up 33 per cent. Total group sales lifted 38.8 per cent after lockdown restrictions lifted on May 14.
Rod Duke, managing director of Briscoe Group, which owns and operates Briscoes and Rebel Sports store, said Covid-19 has caused volatile sales patterns in the first half of the year, but he was surprised at the bounce back in trade in the second quarter.
"We thought there would be some pent up demand, we thought at best there would be three or four weeks of it, but it seems to have gone all the way through to the end of second-half and even today it still continues," Duke told the Herald on Friday.
"It's been really buoyant."
Duke put the lift in sales down to a renewed interest in decorating and investing in the home and consumers continuing to be interested in sports and ways to stay active post-lockdown.
"A lot of New Zealanders [are normally] touring overseas in June, July and August ... and now it's just not happening, no one is going anywhere, so I think there are a lot of households with a lot of travel money that is getting spent on their home or on themselves."
Duke said he remained cautious on how long the surge in spending would continue, but expected it to continue through to Christmas.
Level 4 lockdown slashed Briscoe Group's quarterly sales by more than a third, despite a doubling of the firm's online trading. Sales in its first quarter ending April 26 fell to $97m, 35.6 per cent lower than the $150.6m achieved in the same period last year.
Shoppers had returned to shopping instore quickly after lockdown, he said.
"Whilst the uplift in sales has been very pleasing, we are extremely conscious of the widely reported need for continuing caution in relation to future negative impacts of Covid-19 on key economic indicators such as consumer spending and unemployment, particularly at the conclusion, in September, of the government's wage subsidy scheme," Duke said in the NZX market update.
"As previously disclosed the Group has taken many steps to help minimise the impact of Covid-19 on the second quarter including; negotiating equitable solutions in relation to a wide range of trade and non-trade expenditure with landlords and suppliers, salary sacrifices across the senior leadership team, reduction in directors' fees, cancellation of final dividend and uptake of the first round of the government's wage subsidy scheme."
Briscoe Group received $866,011 in wage subsidies for 124 staff.