The Covid-19 crisis has presented opportunities for Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL), which has seen total sales growth of 2.7 per cent this financial year despite the impact of bushfire-related closures over the summer.
Supercheap Auto and BCF stores in particular have benefited from increased demand for essential and self-sufficiency products.
These include portable gas and fuels, camping stoves, batteries, gas refills, generators, refrigeration equipment, hygiene products (sanitisers and wipes), water filters, water-purifying products, portable toilets and solar energy panels.
And while apparel sales have been negatively affected at the company's sports retail chain Rebel, there has been an uplift in sales in personal fitness and gym equipment following the government's direction to close gyms in Australia.
As at week 38, the group has notched a 21 per cent increase in online sales - a category that represents around 9 per cent of total sales.
SUL advises all its Australian stores continue to trade, and all its offshore suppliers are operational with its supply chain continuing to function normally.
In New Zealand however, in adherence government guidelines Super Retail Group has closed its 45 Supercheap Auto and 36 Macpac stores for a minimum period of four weeks.
As a precaution the company has cancelled its dividend of 21.5 cents per share.
"Covid-19 and its impact on our business and the community is uncertain and changing rapidly," says CEO and managing director Anthony Heraghty.
"We are taking all actions available to us to best navigate the Group through this difficult period. We remain focused on continuing to provide essential and self-sufficiency products to our valued customers.
"We have implemented a number of safety measures including the adoption of flexible working arrangements, travel restrictions, and increased hygiene and safety protocols in our stores and support offices."
Updated at 11:40am AEDT on 26 March 2020.
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