Michael Hill records mixed half

michael hillJewellery retailer, Michael Hill, has recorded total store sales growth of 5.7 per cent for the six months to December 31 last year, which it says it achieved in the fact of choppy macro conditions and competitors’ rampant discounting pre-Christmas.

The Michael Hill brand delivered total store sales growth of 4.6 per cent and same store sales growth of 1.0 per cent for the six months while subsidiary brand, Emma & Roe achieved total store sales growth of 71.9 per cent and same store sales growth of 1.1 per cent during the period.

In its update to shareholders, the jewellery chain said trading for the half ended on a solid note with December’s same store sales up 2.5 per cent for the month, “achieved against a back drop of choppy macro conditions in our various geographic markets and higher than usual competitor discounting in Australia and Canada.”

The Michael Hill brand’s Canadian segment reported same store sales growth of 7.4 per cent in local currency and total store sales growth of 17.8 per cent.

“It appears we are continuing to take market share in this market as the competition continue to struggle,” the company said.

Five Canadian stores were opened during the period giving a total of 72 at the end of the half and another eight stores are planned to open in the second half.

The New Zealand segment finished down 1.5 per cent for the half, with one new store opened in Christchurch giving 53 stores trading at the half year.

“Many competitors went on sale earlier than normal in December to try and bolster pre-Christmas sales however we resisted that trend and focused on maintaining good quality sales and gross margin in this critical period,” the company said.

The US business had a poor December quarter and finished the half 8.8 per cent down for same stores. “With continued consolidation of jewellery industry in the US the company still sees a good opportunity for our company in this large and lucrative market,” said the company.

The jewellery chain said subsidiary brand Emma & Roe is establishing a good foothold in “the large and lucrative New South Wales market” and further growth is planned in this market for the coming 6 months. There were 24 stores open at the end of the half year with plans to open a further six in the second half of FY17.

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